by Cindy Jenson-Elliott;
illus. by Carolyn Fisher
49 pages; ages 4-8
Beach Lane Books, 2014
Theme: nature, nonfiction
"Weeds find a way to live where other plants can't grow", begins Cindy Jenson-Elliott. They send their seeds into the world on parachutes or velcroed onto animal fur. The seeds find a way to wait until the conditions are just right for growing. They grow and flower, providing insects with food and us with beauty. Whatever they need to do to survive, weeds find a way.
Beyond the book: So many things today. Below is an interview with the author, but first some hands-on activities.
- Draw a weed. Find a cool weed and draw or paint a portrait of it. Make it big!
- Adopt a weed. Plant a flag next to your weed so you can return to it - and so no one mows it. Then measure it and sketch (or photograph) it every few days. How does it grow? Do the leaves change as it gets taller? What does the bud look like? the flower? the seed pods? How far do the seeds travel?
- What do the weeds in your neighborhood find a way to do?
Archimedes: What inspired you to write a book about weeds?
Cindy: I like introducing children to things they see all the time, but we don't really notice. Weeds - especially those in urban environments - make us ask "how did these plants get here?" People think of cities as "urban wastelands" but they are home to many plants. I hoe that children (and adults) will appreciate the small, oft-overlooked things in their environment ... like the weeds.
Archimedes: How did you come to the "weeds find a way" structure of the book?
Cindy: While in the school garden with students, I noticed there weren't too many vegetables, but there was a tremendous "crop" of weeds. So I turned that into our lesson and we studied how they grew, how they spread their seeds, and ways they created a home in the garden. There were no books on weeds, so I thought about what a book might look like. I knew I wanted to focus on adaptations.
Archimedes: How did the book change during the writing process?
Cindy: I originally envisioned pictures of weeds around the page with notes - like margin notes or a sketchbook. Then Carolyn (the illustrator) brought her ideas to the project and the weed pictures and notes got transformed into the "meet the weeds" section at the back. Another thing that happened was bringing a second, visual story into the book. That's the story of the girl and her dog going on a walks through the seasons.
Cindy says she's busy working on another book about gardening which may or may not feature weeds. Meanwhile, spring is on its way, and weeds will be finding their way into your neighborhood. So head outside and meet a few of them.
Drop by STEM Friday to see what other science books and resources bloggers are sharing.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
n Monday we'll head over to join the Nonfiction Monday round-up, where you'll find all kinds of great nonfiction for children and teens. Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.
This is the last stop on the Blog Tour. If you missed any stops, here's the tour schedule:
February 24 - Growing With Science
February 25 - As They Grow Up
February 26 - Kid Lit Frenzy
February 27 - Sharpread
February 28 - Children's Book Review
March 3 - Let's Go Chipper
March 4 - Just a Little Creativity
March 5 - Unleashing Readers
March 6 - 5 Minutes for Books