September 25 – World Dream Day

MIss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

Dreamed up by a professor at Columbia University in 2012, today’s holiday is not for the sleepy  but for those wide awake to all the possibilities in life. It’s a time for adults and kids to really think about their hopes and dreams and plan how to achieve them. So sit down with a group of friends or by yourself and let your imagination soar – don’t let the day or opportunities pass you by! 

Miss Maple’s Seeds 

By Eliza Wheeler

 

Late in the summer, Miss Maple hurries to prepare for some very special guests. She has searched all summer for “orphan seeds that got lost during the spring planting,” and now bluebirds are carrying baskets full of these little pods so full of potential to her home. Once they arrive she “learns each seed by heart.” There are poppy, wild rice, maple, water lily, pine, impatiens, apple raspberry, sunflower, acorn, pea, fern seeds, and as many more as make up our world.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-miss-maple's-washing-the-seeds

Image copyright Eliza Wheeler, courtesy of Nancy Paulson Books, Penguin Books

As she lovingly tends to each one, she whispers to them, “Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.” Miss Maple takes her little charges on field trips and shows them the world they will inhabit—muddy soil along riverbanks, grassy fields, and thickly populated forests. She cautions them about “weedy characters” who can show up even in a “bustling garden.”

At night Miss Maple snuggles each seed into a comfortable bed and reads to them by the light of fireflies. During the winter Miss Maple entertains other guests—woodland creatures who gather in her maple tree home to share food, stories, and songs. With the spring come rains and new lessons that teach the seeds how to burrow into the ground.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-miss-maple's-seeds-bedtime-story

Image copyright Eliza Wheeler, courtesy of Nancy Paulson Books, Penguin Books

In May Miss Maple knows it’s time for her little ones to “find roots of their own.” She sends them out into the world, knowing that she has prepared them well for what they will become. Her seeds say goodbye and sail off to begin their futures, leaving Miss Maple alone. But soon another summer day comes, and Miss Maple sets off to gather more orphan seeds, because “the world is big and they are small.”

Eliza Wheeler’s Miss Maple’s Seeds is a lovely metaphor for the nurturing relationship between children and their parents or caregivers. At once comforting and liberating, Wheeler’s sweet tribute reveals the hopes and dreams adults have for each child they raise and finally let go to bloom into what they are meant to be.  

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-miss-maple's-lantern-boats

Image copyright Eliza Wheeler, courtesy of Nancy Paulson Books, Penguin Books

Wheeler’s beautiful language floats as quietly and unhurried as a leaf on a gentle breeze, and her luminous artwork is breathtaking in its fully realized details of the greater world Miss Maple’s seeds and all of us inhabit. Each season is gorgeously rendered in soft blues, roses, browns, and yellows, and Wheeler imbues each little seed with personality without anthropomorphism. The reader may well wish they could be friends with these future beauties and with Miss Maple as well.

Miss Maple’s Seeds would be a wonderful gift for high school graduates, teachers, and anyone who loves taking care of children. It’s timeless message also makes it a perfect choice for quiet reading times or bedtime and a welcome addition to anyone’s bookshelf.

Ages 3 – 7, all ages

Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, 2013 | ISBN 978-0399257926

Discover the world of Eliza Wheeler‘s books and art on her website! Download an activity sheet for Miss Maple’s Seeds here!

While I take a few personal days this month, I am reposting earlier reviews updated with new links and interior art.

World Dream Day Activity

CPB - Flower Pot

Hopes and Dreams Flower Pot

 

Ideas, hopes, and dreams are like seeds, sprouting and growing into fruition with a bit of attention and care. With today’s craft you can create a flower pot of your own design. Then fill it with “dream seeds” of your favorite flower or plant. As you tend to the plant and it grows, tend to your own dreams and watch them grow as you achieve your desires.

Supplies

  • Terra cotta pot in any size
  • Acrylic multi-surface paint in various colors
  • Flower seeds
  • Soil

Directions

  1. Paint your terra cotta pot—be creative!
  2. Let paint dry
  3. Fill pot with soil
  4. Plant flower seeds

Picture Book Review

March 12 – National Plant a Flower Day

MIss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

It’s March—that funny month when some people are basking in 80-degree sunshine and others are still shoveling snow. But no mater where we live, we’re thinking about the same thing—Spring! Spring brings new green leaves, gentle rains, and little shoots that will grow to be trees, vegetable and fruit plants, and flowers. Whether you live somewhere warm and can already plant outside or somewhere that’s still a little chilly and requires indoor propagation, planting flower seeds is a perfect way to beautify your home and your life.

Miss Maple’s Seeds 

By Eliza Wheeler

 

Late in the summer, Miss Maple hurries to prepare for some very special guests. She has searched all summer for unplanted “orphan” seeds, and baskets full of them are winging their way to her home on the backs of bluebirds. Once they arrive she “learns each seed by heart.” There are poppy, wild rice, maple, water lily, pine, impatiens, apple raspberry, sunflower, acorn, pea, fern seeds, and as many more as make up our world.

As she lovingly tends to each one, she says, “Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.” Miss Maple takes them on field trips and shows them the world they will inhabit—the muddy soil along riverbanks, grassy fields, and thick forests. She cautions them about “weedy characters” who can show up even in a “bustling garden.”

At night Miss Maple snuggles each seed into a comfy bed and reads to them by the light of fireflies. During the winter Miss Maple entertains other guests—woodland creatures who gather in her maple tree home and share food, stories, and songs. With the spring come rains and new lessons on burrowing into the ground.

May ushers in another summer, and Miss Maple knows it’s time for her little ones to “find roots of their own.” She sends them out into the world, knowing that she has prepared them well for what they will become. Her seeds say goodbye and sail off to begin their futures, and Miss Maple is left alone. But soon another summer day comes, and Miss Maple sets off to gather more orphan seeds, because “the world is big and they are small.”

Eliza Wheeler’s Miss Maple’s Seeds is a triumph—as comforting as a warm blanket and as empowering as a master key. Wheeler’s beautiful language floats quietly and unhurried like the flight of a leaf on a gentle breeze. The metaphor of seeds and children is so sweetly made, and Miss Marple’s wish for her little charges can bring a tear to the eye of any caretaker.

Wheeler’s luminous artwork is breathtaking in its fully realized details of the wide world Miss Maple’s seeds and all of us inhabit. Each season is gorgeously rendered in soft blues, roses, browns, and yellows, and she imbues the little seeds with personality without making them anthropomorphic. The reader may wish they could be friends with these future beauties and Miss Maple as well.

Miss Maple’s Seeds would be a wonderful gift for high school graduates, teachers, and anyone who loves taking care of children.

Ages 3 – 7, all ages

Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group | ISBN 978-0399257926

Plant a Flower Day Activity

CPB - Flower Pot

Decorated Flower Pot

 

Spring is almost here, and that means flowers will soon be blooming. If you want to beautify your home plant your favorite flower seeds in a pot you’ve decorated yourself!

Supplies

  • Terra cotta pot in any size
  • Acrylic multi-surface paint in various colors
  • Flower seeds
  • Soil

Directions

  1. Paint your terra cotta pot—be creative!
  2. Let paint dry
  3. Fill pot with soil
  4. Plant flower seeds