Prather’s Pick: An enchanting book |

Prather’s Pick: An enchanting book

Diane Prather

This week’s picture book is intended for all ages. It was written by Jan Karon, author of the “Mitford Years” series (some of the books reviewed previously in this column).

“The Trellis and the Seed: A Book of Encouragement for All Ages” was written by Karon and illustrated by Robert Gantt Steele. The book is published by Puffin Books (the Penguin Group), copyright 2003.

The story is told by an unknown narrator who “knows all,” including the thoughts of a seed and what the Earth tells the seed. It all begins as a woman, known only as “the Nice Lady,” holds a seed in her hand. It is the end of summer and someone has given her the seed for next year. All that the Nice Lady knows about the seed is that it will vine and produce sweet-smelling blossoms.

The seed, however, doesn’t believe that it can become a beautiful vine with blossoms. After all, the seed is very small.

Summer is nearly over so the Nice Lady puts the seed in a jelly glass on top of a china cupboard. That’s where it spends the winter. In early spring the Nice Lady puts some water in the glass so the seed can soak it up, become soft and then sprout faster.

She buys a trellis for the seed and puts it in the ground by a brick wall in her garden. Then she makes a hole at its base for the seed. She plants the seed in the soil.

It is cold and dark in the soil, but the Earth speaks to the seed, explaining that God has something special in mind for it — the seed will become a vine with perfumed blossoms. The little seed doesn’t believe it.

So spring goes on. Rain falls. The sun shines. And then one day something happens at the bottom of the seed.

This is a gentle and enchanting story told from an unusual point of view. Readers of all ages will love it. (They will love the little white dog that can be seen in some of the illustrations, too.)

Besides the “Mitford” books, Jan Karon has written two books for children, too, one of which is “Miss Fannie’s Hat.” Besides painting theater posters, book jackets, and fine art, Robert Gantt Steele has illustrated children’s books.

Thanks to my sister Darlene Blackford for lending me this week’s book. It is a small book in softcover that costs about $5.99. If you can’t find the book elsewhere, order it!

Next week’s column reviews a special book that is handwritten (!) — all 368 pages of it!

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