There’s a plethora of wonderful children’s books on gardening, but there is always room for more! What’s This? A Seed’s Story by Caroline Mockford is a charming story about a child’s discovery of a seed and the cycle of plant life. I was lucky enough to have my six-year-old daughter read this book to me for her homework.
What’s This? A Seed’s Story begins with a bird discovering a seed one winter morning. I anticipated the bird would eat the seed, then deposit its droppings somewhere and begin the plant’s life; however, my prediction was wrong. Instead, a little girl, along with her marmalade cat, discovered it and “planted the seed carefully in a corner of her garden.” My daughter has her own garden, as I believe every child should, so I was happy to see the main character in this book also has her own garden bed. (Fellow writer Beth recently wrote about her child’s birthday garden, but back to our story…)
The girl tends to her seed, and then one day, it starts to grow. At this point during our reading, I asked my daughter what kind of plant she thought it would be. She guessed a flower, and I guessed a pea. As the plant grew taller and taller, I changed my prediction to a bean, and noticing the pole used to support the plant, my daughter thought it must be clematis.
Every day when she woke up, the little girl ran straight out to the garden to look at the plant that was growing from the seed. And one morning, when she ran outside, there, turning its head to the sun, was a magnificent sunflower.
At this point in the story, I was reminded of Melanie Eclare’s A Handful of Sunshine. Like Tilda in A Handful of Sunshine, the little girl saved her sunflower head in the fall. In What’s This? A Seed’s Story, the little girl takes her sunflower head to school, where the teacher helps her shake the seeds out gently. Too bad the teacher didn’t take the opportunity to teach the children about Fibonacci and flowers. When spring returns, all of the children in the class plant the sunflower seeds, “and when the next summer came, every child had a beautiful, smiling sunflower!”
Organic gardening with children is challenging at times, but it is also very rewarding. The fact that my daughter would guess that a plant in a book illustration is clematis shows that her plant knowledge is far superior to my own at six years of age. As spring time approaches, you can look forward to many posts on Eco Child’s Play about gardening with children.