Gaze at this book's lively cover artwork--as your fingers probe the surface and trace the edges of its big, terra-cotta plastic, bas-relief, flower pot. Come along, as Sam the Cat and his friends plant some sunflower seeds. Later, plant your very own sunflowers, using the seeds inside the packet tucked into this book's inside-front cover and the cultivation instructions found on the back page.
How nice that Kate Petty has woven a credible and emotional story to accompany this hand-sized children's botany book; it both entertains and educates--without being pedantic. Axel Scheffler's charming and color-rich illustrations, varying in size and graphic format to match the story line, draw its young readers into the story, helping them to visualize plant growth and to experience Sam's little joys (and impatience!) as he observes and raises his first plants.
Lift the three, time-lapse flaps to get a worm's view of what's happening underground as the seeds germinate and grow. Find out what sunflowers need to grow and thrive. Learn that it takes such a long time (in kid days) to raise a sunflower (but it's worth the wait!). Look inside a big green sunflower bud for a preview of coming attractions, and then, for a big surprise--watch a huge, golden, sunflower pop out of your book! Discover that sunflowers turn to track the sun across the sky every day (heliotropism). Notice that sunflowers ultimately yield MORE SUNFLOWER SEEDS (achenes)--and realize that those seeds can be used to grow some more sunflowers next year!
These great big plants and this very cool cat (with his diverse animal entourage) are perfect for introducing a child to plant biology and for fostering a love of plants. It's no wonder that this book won the 1999 Giverny Award for "best children's science picture book."