Quill and Quire

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Book Reviews

Acorn to Oak Tree

by Barbara Reid

Caterpillar to Butterfly

by Barbara Reid

Tadpole to Frog

by Barbara Reid

Seed to Sunflower

by Barbara Reid

This series of First Look board books introduces young children to the process of growth in the plant and animal worlds. Beginning with the tiny seed or egg, each book clearly describes how the fledgling plant or creature survives and gets the nourishment it needs to thrive. Each book documents the various stages of transformation, so that the child reader watches the tiny seed become a seedling, then a tall plant or tree, or sees the tadpole grow legs to become a frog or the caterpillar metamorphose into a butterfly.

Reid’s two-dimensional Plasticine illustrations are highly detailed yet accessible to young eyes. The left page illustration tends to depict the larger scene (the chrysalis hanging from a leaf, for instance) while the right page shows a close-up, often in meticulous detail. Near the end of each book the perspective widens to include the child’s world: a girl swoops in a swing hung from the grown oak tree, a boy chases a leaping frog, and the butterfly perches on a child’s sun hat, suggesting the harmony possible between humans and nature.

In their focus on the wonders of growth and change, these books will tap into young children’s interest in their own growing bodies. They are a welcome addition to the lamentably small number of Canadian board books available.