Youngsters can chart the growth of a sunflower, from seed to bloom.
An unseen narrator (except for a pair of hands with a beige complexion) wonders what a handful of striped seeds will grow into. Readers see one of these seeds sprout, grow roots, and emerge from the soil of a small pot. Next the plant is transferred outside to a garden where it can grow large and blossom. The last double-page spread shows the full life cycle of a sunflower from seed to flower on the verso, while the recto includes a 10-word glossary, rare for the format. The text, printed in a distractingly wavy typeface, is a mishmash of perky narration, captions, and prompts encouraging youngsters to explore the scenes more deeply. The overbusy illustrations work best when they present a cross section to allow readers to observe the sunflower’s root system. Some of the artwork, which is an odd mix of cartoons, near-realistic computer-generated images, and photos, looks incongruous, presenting cartoon leaves and clip-art–like ladybugs atop photos of flowers. Why the creators chose to go with this visual hash when DK’s wealth of clear and beautiful photography is at their disposal is baffling.
While there is plenty of good information here, the too-busy design, the jumble of images, and the long text skew this offering beyond the grasp of core board-book readers. (Board book. 3-5)