Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftCapstone's "Plant Life Cycles" series is intended to provide early readers with access to information about the life cycles of members of the apple and bean families, gymnosperm and angiosperm trees, root vegetables, and flowering plants of North America. The books have a simple text and large color photographs illustrating seeds, sprouts, flowers, fruits, and mature trees or plants. The pictures in all of the books are attractive and illustrative of the text opposite. That said, the photos selected to illustrate stages in the cycles are not always of the same species or variety, which is sometimes disturbing. Appealingly pictured here are tiny luminous bean sprouts, lush leaves with flowers, and dry pods forming a pattern against rough soil. The illustrations for this cycle show several different kinds of beans being planted and sprouting, though the end product turns out to be the Blue Lake variety often seen in groceries. Teachers and parents may want to stress to budding scientists that the bean family (Fabaceae) is highly diverse and includes broad beans, runners, garbanzos, lentils, black-eyed peas, and soybeans, as well as the green beans pictured (though we do not, as stated, eat the pods of most of them); bean colors include light red, dark red, black, white, and speckled. Still, extra-wide pictures make the books useful for science read-alouds, while the brief text should be easily read by primary students with beginning skills. The glossary is helpful; three additional books are suggested for further reading.
Watch small bean seeds grow into beans we eat. Learn about this vegetable's life cycle from start to finish.
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