Jody's Beansby MALACHY DOYLE, Judith Allibone
From spring to fall with the help of her grandfather, Jody learns to plant, care for, harvest, prepare, and eat some scarlet runner beans. Full color.
Horn Book MagazineJody's grandfather helps her plant a dozen beans in a circular patch and tells her how to care for the growing plants in a simple, appropriately circular story that depicts a special relationship while providing basic information for young gardeners. As the text concentrates on the thinning, staking, and watering of the bean plants and the picking and cooking of the beans, small pen drawings washed in soft colors sprinkle numerous details of family life and gardening across the pages. Bits of text alternate comfortably with boxed and open scenes elaborating on the narrative, and Judith Allibone makes liberal use of small picture motifs to lead the eye from page to page. The text features a nice question-and-answer device emphasizing the need for patience in growing things. Jody asks the question, "'What do runner beans look like, Granda?'...'Wait and see,' said Granda. 'Wait and see.'" In the fall, when Jody and Granda count out twelve new beans to start next year's crop, and he asks how tall she thinks they'll grow, it's Jody's turn to tell him to "wait and see." The cozy tale of everyday events, illustrated with just the right amount of small details to engage young viewers, is very satisfying. A brief index inviting readers to "look up the pages to find out about all these bean things" is a nifty lesson in using the book for information.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. PettenatiJody and her Granda bond in a special way through gardening. Granda shows Jody the life cycle of bean plants in his gentle, understated way. She, of course, has the impatience of a young girl exploring a new world. At the same time the runner beans are planted, watered, and staked, the baby inside Jody's mother's tummy is growing larger and larger. Seasons change, the beans are picked and eaten and the baby is born. The circle is complete when Jody and her Granda select next year's runner beans just before winter. Lovely watercolor illustrations accompany this delightful story, which is sure to strike a chord with young children.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 2When Jodys Granda comes to visit, he brings some seeds, which the two plant together. Each step of the growth and care of the scarlet runner beans is described throughout the spring, summer, and fall, as Granda visits or telephones with helpful information and encouragement. Whenever Jody asks what will happen, he says, Wait and see. Under the girls watchful eye, the plants grow tall, flower, produce edible beans, and, finally, provide seeds for next year. At the same time, seen mostly through the illustrations, Jodys mothers pregnancy progresses and by harvest time theres a new baby. However, the focus of the story remains on growing scarlet runner beans. The process is clearly described, and an index refers readers back to particular topics, such as pinching back or staking seedlings. The detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations show many aspects of the plants and also of the relationship between Jody and her grandfather.Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThis smart little story from Doyle, about growing a tepee of runner beans, can be extended to take in the big canvaslife itselfbut its charm resides in the focus on a singular natural event. Jody and her grandfather prepare a patch of earth for some bean seeds. He comes back for intermittent visits, but it is up to Jody to tend the beans and report back to him by phone. Granda offers a measure of advice, but doesn't pile on the directions, allowing Jody to exercise her powers of observation and gathering experience to get it right. Her attentiveness leads to great pleasure in the growth of the vines, the red flowers, the beans themselves ("Ê`Oh,' said Jody. `I didn't know we were going to eat them'Ê"). Meanwhile, Jody's mother is growing larger with pregnancy, but that subplot resides mostly in the illustrations. Come autumn, the big beans on the top of the tepee yield a surprise. The story resembles a fine reduction sauce, as Doyle's imagery and newcomer Allibone's delicate, framed watercolors yield a rich, concentrated delight. (Picture book. 3-6)
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