Friday, October 3, 2014
Dandelion Seed Dreams
by Joseph Anthony; illus. by Chris Arbo
32 pages; ages 4-10
Dawn Publications, 2014
Theme: nature, life cycle
"Once a little seed took to the sky. It had a dream..."
The tiny seed soars, filled with possibilities. But the wind shifts, it nearly loses its fluffy parachute, and it ends up in the wrong place. But it would not let go of its dream
What I like about this book: While the text tells the universal story of hanging on to one's dream - a bit philosophical for any seed - the illustrations tell the "true" story of seed flight, overwintering, and germinating in the spring when conditions are just right. They also show the story of children and their adult friends coming together to clean up a bit of trash-strewn land and turn it into a community garden. I especially like the ending - and the underlying thought that dandelions are beautiful and have a place in our world.
There's also good information in the back: a detailed introduction to dandelion plant parts, and short discussion on "flower or weed" as well as some history, and some things to do.
Beyond the Book (activities and more)
Take a Sock Walk. Get a pair of old white socks that no one will miss - and that are big enough to fit over your shoes. Moth-eaten wool socks work well, too. Pull the socks on, and go for a walk through tall grass and weedy places. Seeds from dandelions and other plants may stick to your socks. When you come back home, gently pull off the socks. Take a close look at the seeds using a magnifying lens. Draw them. Can you figure out what plants they came from?
Turn your sock into a garden. National Wildlife Federation has great instructions for how to turn a seed-full sock into a living garden. Have fun!
How far do seeds travel? If you can find some parachute-topped seeds (asters, dandelions, milkweed) collect a few. Then release them and try to measure how far they float or ride the breeze. You might need a friend to help - and skip the ruler; use the length of your stride to estimate distances. Alternatively, you could use a stopwatch (or watch with a second hand) to determine how long a parachute-topped seed can stay aloft.
Check out this interview with author Joseph Anthony.
Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.