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by Lola M. Schaefer & illustrated by Donald Crews

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: April 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-16413-7
Publisher: Greenwillow

Schaefer starts with one sunflower growing tall in her garden and shows how just one makes many. Cumulative verse, reminiscent of This is the House That Jack Built, describes the growth cycle starting with the flower, then the seeds within the blossom; birds eat and scatter the seeds; the rain and the sun cause the sprouts to grow and, come next summer, there are many sunflowers standing in the garden. Sunflower facts and identification of the seventeen common birds shown in the illustrations are there if adults choose to augment the rhyme with more information. Crews’s impressionist watercolors go beyond the text, deepen the understanding of the words and provide a context for understanding the concepts of the growth cycle. The sunflower, shown larger than the house and tree, describes the words tall and bright. To illustrate the flower that stands day and night, Crews paints a scene in which there are elements of both daylight and night. The beaks of the birds that crack the seeds are shown facing into a circle, their heads and beaks are realistic, yet in the next illustration, they fly on the page, wings outspread like angels with long robes behind to show they are `full of song.” Although there is no mention of seasons in the text, Crews takes us through fall, winter, spring, bringing us finally to the field of sunflowers in summer. May be enjoyed as a poem or as a springboard for nature study. (sunflower facts, names of birds) (Picture book. 3-7)