Prather’s Pick: Children’s books share garden theme
May 1, 2018
It's nearly time to plant vegetable gardens, and this week, I've found two books for children age 3 and older that can be used to help them learn about the stages of plant growth and different kinds of vegetables. These books don't have a 2018 copyright, but it doesn't matter — they're great.
"Maisy Grows a Garden"
The first book, "Maisy Grows a Garden," was written by Lucy Cousins, author of "Splish, Splash, Ducky," reviewed in this column recently. Cousins is the author of several other Maisy books about science. "Maisy Grows a Garden" is interactive, because children can pull tabs on the pages to "get things growing." It's easy to see just how much children have enjoyed this book I found at the library, because the tabs are well-worn.
It's spring as this book begins, and Maisy is getting the soil ready to plant a garden. A pitchfork, rake and shovel are drawn on the left side of the first page under the heading "Digging." The reader pulls the first of the book's tabs to get Maisy to start digging with his shovel. Maisy's friend, Panda, is digging in a flower pot.
Next, Maisy plants seeds in the little fenced garden. When the reader pulls a tab, he or she can see the seeds that were planted in little holes. Panda plants sunflower seeds in his pot. In a tree over the garden, a bird builds a nest.
Maisy and Panda water their gardens. The sun shines on the soil. Pretty soon, the seeds start to sprout. This time, a pull of the tab reveals the seedlings. There are weeds, like dandelions, to be pulled.
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Finally the garden produces vegetables. By pulling down on one tab, the reader finds a tomato hidden in the leaves. Pulling up another tab, the reader finds a carrot. Panda's sunflowers are tall. The blossoms are closed, but when the tabs are pulled, they open wide. A bee and a ladybug are inside.
This book, published by Candlewick Press (2013), costs $14.99 in hardcover.
"Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant"
The second book in this week's column is "Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant." It was written by April Pulley Sayre and is published by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing division (2011). The book costs $15.99 in hardcover.
This book's illustrations are photos so they are colorful and bright, and the book's rhythmic chant is catching. "Rah, rah, radishes! Red and white. Carrots are calling. Take a bite!"
Children are introduced to a variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, different kinds of peppers, lettuce, lima beans, zucchini and more. There's even a photo of Brussels sprouts before they were harvested — very interesting.
The book and chant ends with "Veggies rock!"
The last page of the book answers the question "What is a vegetable?" and includes a website where readers can find out about vegetables not included in the book.
Always a teacher, I can see lots of ways this week's two books could be used in the classroom or at home to teach children more about growing plants and the variety of vegetables that can be found in a garden. Kids might enjoy a field trip to find vegetables featured in "Rah, Rah, Radishesl," or they might even enjoy a vegetable tasting day.
This week's books can also be found in the children's room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.