Friday, May 9, 2008

to be like the SUN by Susan Marie Swanson and Margaret Chodos-Irvine - review

to be like the SUN by Susan Marie Swanson and Margaret Chodos-Irvine
I love picture books about plants and gardening. This time of year, I always like to bust them out. Some of my favorites:

Eddie's Garden and How to Make Things Grow

How Groundhog's Garden Grew

Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!


The Gardener

A Seed Is Sleepy

And now, To Be Like the Sun. I love the bold, textured illustrations, "created using a variety of nontraditional printmaking techniques and materials." I'm not positive, but I think that may mean that a lot of tissue paper and maybe even a couple of potatoes gave up their chance at happiness for this book. "This is a good death," as Chiwitel Ejiofor says in Serenity.

And I adore the prose. I plant a lot of seeds, and I'm 42 years old and NOT prone to spiritual thoughts, but when I push a seed in the ground I am almost always dubious that such a small thing can suck up a bunch of water and minerals and make a whole plant. It is one of life's enduring sources of amazement for me.

The little girl in this book, planting a sunflower seed, thinks to herself:
Hello, little seed,
striped gray seed.
Do you really know everything
about sunflowers?
Yup, that sums it up for me. She continues observing the sunflower through the seasons, as it grows, develops a bud, creates its own seeds and sheds them. In the winter we see that she has saved some seeds and will plant them next year.

It's the nearest thing to a miracle that I know, and now I have this book, to explain that to my kids better than I could.

1 comment:

Jenny Lando said...

to be like the sun was up for an award this year. did not make it but I was happy to get it in my box of books to judge.