Adaptable weeds find ways to spread themselves and their seeds, to grow in strange places, and to be loved and admired.
Mixed-media digital collage illustrations on double-page spreads follow a girl and her dog through a world of weeds, from seeds to flowers. Sometimes—as in an image of milkweed seeds shooting from a pod—these pictures focus on the weeds themselves; sometimes they include parts of the girl or dog; and some are full scenes. Weed seeds wait through a winter snow. They bake on hot sidewalks. They sprout “in a tangle of tree roots” and flower into “umbrellas of the finest white lace.” Some shatter and spread when pulled; others avoid being eaten, thanks to thorns and poisons. The hand-lettered alliterative text provides a simple introduction to the idea of weeds. With very few lines to each page, it reads aloud smoothly. The author, a California-based nature educator, includes a “Meet the Weeds” afterword, defining them as plants growing where they aren’t wanted and describing 24 common U.S. weeds, from dandelions to wild oats. A small, suggestive image accompanies each description.
Neither formal introduction nor field guide, this unusual reminder of weeds’ admirable qualities nevertheless merits a place on the nature-study shelf of preschool and early-elementary classrooms. (Informational picture book. 3-7)