Friday, March 29, 2019

Picture Book Friday

Growing Season by author and illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler is a charming story of friendship and expectations for children 4-8.

El and Jo are best friends. They are also the shortest kids in class, and they bond over the many ways they are alike. But come spring, Jo starts to grow and suddenly, they aren’t so alike after all.

Cocca-Lefffler makes clever use of the notion that Spring is a time of change by selecting plants as stand-ins for El and Jo. When summer break arrives, each student gets to choose a flower to take home and plant. Jo is quick to take a blooming Zinnia. Little El has a difficult time reaching the shelf and by the time she does, there’s only a very small, very plain Aster left that doesn’t have a single blossom. Jo is leaving on vacation, so she gifts her friend with the Zinnia and El devotes herself to caring for the two very different flowers. She plants them side-by-side, waters them, and talks to them. Despite all her care, the Aster doesn’t seem likely to ever catch up with the beautiful Zinnia.  Jo’s return is celebrated with a visit to the garden, where El discovers that her Aster has finally blossomed and so has, she!

The bright watercolor illustrations are a perfect compliment for the lively text. An author’s note on the last page, PLANT LIFE CYCLES, highlights fun facts and offers information about how annual, perennial, and biennial flowers grow.

This is a wonderful book to add to your spring collection purely for the delight of reading. It’s also an ideal choice for introducing the topic of plants or encouraging a discussion of change.

Recommended for home, school, and library collections.

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