Sunday, May 1, 2011

Picture Books (Science): Plants

I have enjoyed reading about seeds and plants with my fourth grader.  This week, I am planning some fun activities to go along with this study.  If you have any ideas or links, please share them in the comment section.  Here are my favorite trade books on the subject of plant growth, beginning with simple and moving to more complex. 

Seeds Stems Leaves and Flowers (ages 2-7) by Gail Saunders-Smith  
This selection is actually four separate mini-books, ideal for small hands.  Foundational information and science terms (chlorophyll, pollen, stamen, pistol, photosynthesis, and so forth) are built through the straightforward text.  The large print, spacing, vocabulary, and sentence groups (2-4 on each page) make this series an excellent option for early independent readers.  Vibrant photographs illustrated and accompany the text.   This series is perfect for preschoolers and early readers.

The Tiny Seed (ages 3-8) by Eric Carle 
Using his beloved illustration style, Eric Carle depicts the life of a single seed.  A narrative style describes the tiny seed, along with many others, gliding through the air and encountering obstacles.  Many seeds never even get the chance to fall to fertile ground.  One tiny seed makes it, just in time for winter hibernation.  When the spring heat and rains return, the tiny seed begins to grow amidst other plants that are not so lucky to survive for long.  The tiny seed/plant makes it to autumn season when it repeats the cycle and sends out its own seeds for the next spring bloom.  The Tiny Seed is a quality blend of narrative and non-fiction. 

From Seed to Plant (ages 4-8) by Gail Gibbons  
The process of pollination and plant growth is laid out in an uncomplicated manner.  The large, colorful illustrations are often labeled and briefly described.  Youngster will become familiar with the parts of the plant (stigma, pollen, pistil, and stamen), watch as bees and birds spread pollen, and follow the process of pollination.  Next, the seeds fall.  Various ways they travel are briefly covered.  Finally, observe as a seed begins to germinate and eventually blossoms into a beautiful plants.   The pictures are adequate, but the information is explained well.  From Seed to Plant is a fine introductory resource for young children.

Seed Soil Sun (ages 7 and up) by Cris Peterson  
Visually, this book is stunning.   Bright photographs are skillfully laid out on the pages with a short section of text.  Many of the illustrations are close ups for close examination.  Children are often part of the photos, providing a human connection with the nature’s growth and productivity. The process of plant development is described in an engaging manner through the framework of the Earth’s recipe for food.  Each part—sun, soil, air, and seed—is explained.  The importance of creatures (earthworms, amoebas, moles) as well as decomposition and microscopic one-celled bacteria are all revealed.  A concise explaination of the role of the sun and photosynthesis is illuminated.  Seed Soil Sun is a beautiful and well-written resource.    

How a Plant Grows (ages 8 and up) by Bobbie Kalman 
This book is the most informative of the resources listed.  It begins with defining what a plant is and delves into areas like parts of a plant, photosynthesis, pollination, plant reproduction, and seed scattering.  Author Bobbie Kalman also incorporates information on plants without seeds, meat eating plants, and the importance of plants.  Three experiment ideas are offered at the conclusion of the book.  Most of the illustrations are photographs, but there are also some nice drawings.  I recommend How a Plant Grows for older learners or those who want to delve in deeper to the subject.

Today's post is linked with Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.  Check out some inspiring science related posts HERE.


  1. I am familiar with a few of these books, but not all of them. Your blog looks like a great resource! I LOVE children's books! We read lots of them at home, plus I am a part-time librarian in a small public library who deals with all of the children's materials and programming. I'll be a new follower :)

  2. Thanks Susan! :) One of my dream jobs is to work in a library running the children's section. Lucky lady!

  3. It is a very small library, but yes, a great place to work!

  4. Thanks so much for this group of suggestions! We are just beginning to grow some flowers and our vegetable garden - my son will love reading some of these books too. He is always fascinated by seed-to-plant explanations (we all should be, shouldn't we? It is pretty amazing!).

  5. I agree Nicole. I was just sharing what we read today in Seed Soil Sun with my husband because it is pretty fascinating! I learned some new things myself. I always comment to my kids when reading about science about how awesome God is. He has everything working together so perfectly down to the smallest organism!

  6. Great list! Sharing your choices with my readers tonight as a part of our gardening post. Thanks for sharing.


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