Saturday, September 29, 2012

Growing Readers

SEED BY SEED: THE LEGEND AND LEGACY OF JOHN "APPLSEED" CHAPMAN by Esme Raji Codell with illustrations by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow, 2012.

Anyone looking for a text to share with children, especially one whose language sings even as it is discussing the real life exploits of John Chapman should look no further. This stunning combination of beautiful illustrations in deep, vibrant earth tones along with the careful wordsmithing makes this a must have. Codell begins by transporting readers back to a time when planes and phones were not heard, when it was possible to hear a wagon wheel "straining against the ruts in a road." Back then a young man named John Chapman said he had been called to be a messenger of peace and to offer fruits to those travelling west. And so begins the legend of Johnny Appleseed. "Use what you have," "make peace where there is war," and other ways to live are what ruled Chapman's actions. Codell tells of his acts with lyrical language that rivals the growing landscape. The book ends with a question: "What seed will you plant?" Pair this with MISS RUMPHIUS for a lovely call to action even among the youngest who can make changes in this world.


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