Monday, December 01, 2008

Cybils Book Review - Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move

In spring of 2007, I wrote a thematic book list on seeds and growing things. When I update the list, Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move, written by JoAnn Early Macken and illustrated by Pam Paparone, will most certainly be added.

It begins:
Take a breath and blow
on a fuzzy dandelion. Whee!
One puff sends seeds soaring.
Like small, soft feathers,
they parachute up in the sky.
I love the alliteration and the poetry of this first page. It provides a great hint at what's to come. This opening page faces the copyright information, and is covered with a double-page spread of a young girl gently blowing on a seeded dandelion.

The text continues:
Maple seeds whirl and twirl in a breeze.
   FLIP, flutter, float!
      The wind lifts them up and off of the tree.
         Away they fly like shiny green helicopters,
            spinning and spinning.
I can't do justice to the font and form of the text here. It is simply lovely. Each illustration that accompanies the text covers a full double-page spread. Readers learn about specific plants and how their seeds are spread, from tumbleweeds (why did it never occur to me that this was how they disperse their seeds?) to coconuts. In some instances, a "microscope view" (round circle containing a close-up image) shows the fruit, flower and leaves of the plant described. The illustrations are soft, quiet and beautiful. Even the picture of a bat "passing" seeds (after it has feasted on a fig) is charming.

Readers will not only learn about the ingenious ways that seeds disperse themselves, but also how they use wind, water, and animals to help them move and survive. The description of burdock seeds and the illustrations reminded me of the hours spent as a child pulling them off my socks and brushing them out of my dog's coat after long walks in the fields near home.

The last spread in the text depicts a beautiful bouquet of flowers and reads:
People plant seeds
in gardens and flowerpots.
They tend the seedlings and watch them grow.

Sprouts! Shoots! Leaves and roots!
Flowers bloom and new seeds form,
beginning the cycle again.
The next double-page spread serves as an illustrated glossary, depicting and defining seedpod, fruit, seed, shoot, sprout, seedling, nut, flower, leaves, stem and roots. The final page of the text includes a few notes about seeds.

This is an imaginative and informative pairing of science and poetry, accompanied by thoroughly striking illustrations. I highly recommend it.

Book: Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move
Author: JoAnn Early Macken
Illustrator: Pam Paparone
Publisher: Holiday House
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book:
Local public library

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Anastasia Suen’s blog and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

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