From this seed…

With the almanac’s last frost date behind us here in Toronto, I’m planning to plant my urban veggie patch this weekend. We’re also getting set to do the same at the school garden, so it makes sense to be writing about seeds—or at least kids’ books about seeds.

In fact, I think I will call this the third installment of YUM, my running series on great kids’ books about food (and gardening).

The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Kraus, is a classic tale of one little boy’s perseverance in the garden. I love the 1945 illustrations by Crockett Johnson, and the sweet message that never goes out of style.

The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle, recounts the difficult journey of a seed—braving cold and wind, heat and the feet of small children—to become a beautiful flower. Carle’s lovely (and beloved) collage illustrations elevate the book beyond its slightly flat storyline.

The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin, is the tale of a Chinese-American girl whose mother insists on growing “ugly” vegetables (like bitter melon and Chinese leeks) in a neighbourhood where flowers are the norm. But when her mother makes soup from the vegetables, the delicious smell draws everyone to their home.

Miss Rumphius, written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, is one of my favourite children’s books of all time. It’s the story of a woman who travels the world but comes home to her small, seaside village with a mission to beautify the world with her lupin seeds.

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