A classic to celebrate SPRING and my 2nd Blogiversary!
Author: Gene Zion
Illustrator: Margaret Bloy Graham
Publisher: Harper & Brothers, 1959
Ages: 3 and up
Themes: plants, ingenuity, community
Opening: “I’m a plant sitter!” said Tommy. “That’s nice, dear,” said his mother. “Tell me about it later. I’m going shopping and I’ll be back soon.”
Summary: (from my Kirkus reviews) Tommy’s remarkable skill with caring for plants virtually turns his orderly house into a jungle. Mother frowns, father is perturbed, but Tommy vehemently pursues his career of caring for the vacationing neighbors’ plants. A twist of the familiar baby-sitting situation, a dash of fantasy, and the bouquet of Margaret Graham’s illustrations blend here in one of the most beguiling books of the season.
I like this book because: it’s a story that celebrates independence, ingenuity, imagination and problem solving. The writing seems simple with no-nonsense vocabulary and a low word-count, but anyone who has attempted to write a picture book knows how difficult that really is. The energy from the initial illustrations is well-preserved with simple wash effects using just three colors. A classic gem!
Resources/activities: this would be a great book to introduce the spring curriculum and germinate plants in the classroom, or the home windowsill; In art class, the book can be used to discuss the blending of primary colors to produce secondaries; watch this is a clip from “RHYTHMS OF NATURE IN THE BARYCZ VALLEY” movie at the bottom of this post, or – HERE
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.