Elizabeth Honey: That’s not a daffodil!

Illustrated by the author

Published by Allen and Unwin, NSW, 2011

Daffodils are the great heralders of spring. Like soft, yellow, downy chickens they speak of new life and hope. How something so colourful and beautiful can grow from an unassuming flaky brown bulb is one of the wonderful mysteries of life.

When Mr Yilmaz from next door gives young Tom his very first daffodil bulb, Tom thinks it is an onion. From a certain point of view, he could be quite right.

With the daffodil in the pot, every stage of its growth can be witnessed. For a long time, nothing happens. Tom is uncertain that anything will happen. With water and a bit of sunshine, a small green shoot eventually appears. To Tom, it resembles a green beak. As it grows, it starts to look more like a hand with five fingers waving in the breeze. After a few more weeks, it appears like a yellow streetlight. After months of waiting, a glorious golden yellow trumpet finally emerges.

There are so many lessons to take away from this simple story.

There is the constant friendship of Mr Yilmaz next door. He gives the gift of patience and steadfastness to young Tom when he hands over the daffodil. Patience for waiting; it takes time to grow something. Steadfastness in friendship; being there in times of doubt and growth.

There is the idea that what you and I see when we look at same thing together will not always be the same. Mr Yilmaz saw a bulb, young Tom saw an onion. Sometimes it is a gift to share a tried and true experience with someone who has never had it. Your perspective can be altered and enriched by someone else’s point of view.

There is the idea of nurturing. Plants grow with earth, water, light and time. People grow with love, encouragement and friendship. But we also need the earth, water, light and time. These are wonderful truths for young readers to contemplate.

I highly recommend this picture book for children 3-8 years.

For further reading I have chosen titles that explore the concept of perception, seeing a part of something and seeing the whole of something can make a world of difference!

Seven Blind Mice
by Ed Young
I See , I See by
Robert Henderson
I am NOT an Elephant
by Karl Newson
Illustrated by
Ross Collins
Brenda is a Sheep
by Morag Hood
They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel
The Black Rabbit by
Philippa Leathers
I am a Tiger by
Karl Newson
Illustrated by
Ross Collins

Laura Knowles: It Starts with a Seed

Illustrated by Jennie Webber

See the source image

Published by Words and Pictures, US, 2017

There are many books on the market that explore the theme of plant growth from seed to tree, but I have chosen this book because of its simple yet concise language and the expressive drawings that accompany the text. Each page explores the development of one seed with gentle rhyme and observation, helping the reader to understand how one tree can become home and habitat to many creatures, big and small. As well, the author explores the idea that a tree, grown from a seed, can throw its own seeds and that they can begin life all over again, an everlasting circle of life. The tree described in this picture book is a sycamore tree and at the end of the book, its life cycle is illustrated, with annotated facts, on a large pull out page.

Whilst many of us wouldn’t plant a sycamore tree in our backyard (they can grow to over 100 feet), there are many seeds that you can plant for almost instant pleasure. So, grab your little person and head off to the nursery, pick up a packet of sunflower seeds for a splash of colour or spinach seedlings for adding to your plate, some potting mix, a few containers, a watering can, some liquid plant food and watch the amazing transformation…and don’t forget to keep watering!

This book would be suitable for children 2-8 years old and if you would like to read more about seeds, here are some of my favorites:

A Seed is Sleepy
by Dianna Aston,
illustrated by Sylvia Long
See the source image
Seeds Move! by
Robin Page
See the source image
The Tiny Seed by
Eric Carle