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by James Preller & illustrated by Huy Voun Lee

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 30th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-026222-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

With quiet elucidation, Preller tells the story of a family of cardinals in a city park. A kindly human mother and daughter have strewn sunflower seeds during their winter walk. They have nourished a cardinal couple and left a seed behind, unintentionally, that will germinate and sprout come spring. There follows the birth and feeding of the cardinal brood and the early gropings of the sunflower sprout, each a moment of Darwinian exigency. In the sweet, expansively composed collage artwork, they are shown at their fittest. The small birds and the sunflower come of age and meet their destiny, even as the mother cardinal flies away to start another brood. The story is a reassuring, benign natural-history lesson, with only a drowsy momentum that becomes fulsome in the wake of the author’s and artist’s good-hearted, gladdening goals. Readers will salute the cardinals and their sunflower. (Picture book. 4-8)