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TO BE LIKE THE SUN by Susan Marie Swanson Kirkus Star


by Susan Marie Swanson & illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-205796-1
Publisher: Harcourt

Addressing a sunflower seed, a small girl contemplates the transformation from seed to sunflower and back to seed again, from spring planting through winter snow. The poetic lines are exquisite, philosophical yet concrete: “My hoe breaks apart / the clods of brown earth, / but you do the real work / down in the dark. / Not radish work or pumpkin, / not thistle work— / sunflower work. / All the instructions / are written in your heart.” Chodos-Irvine’s bold illustrations, utilizing various “nontraditional printmaking techniques and materials,” juxtapose images of sunflower and sun and emphasize curving circular shapes that reinforce the recurring progression of life, the seasons and day and night. “A sunflower seed / is smaller than a word.” Like the sunflower seed, the words and images in this book contain in a spare, elegant package an entire a life cycle. The large, wonderfully patterned illustrations are perfect for sharing, and the ideas lend themselves to discussion and curriculum applications for young children. (Picture book. 4-8)