This is the second in a series that will eventually be four science books covering the theme of cycles of nature. The first was Earth Cycles. This one is written and illustrated by the same partners, and again results in a successful collaboration. Collections like these have come a long way from science books of the past when heads would nod over dry material that seemed totally irrelevant to a third grader. Through the clear, direct text and the illustrations, we learn the life cycle of a sunflower seed, a mushroom and a grasshopper egg; all items children would be familiar with. But more important is how the reader is walked from one stage to another until we come full cycle from seed through life and back to seed. The lovely, soft watercolors and strong lines give a distinctive look that doesn't just present facts, but tells a story of wonder. The artwork is an excellent example of how art and science meet to teach and inspire. One of the goals of introductory information books is to entice the reader to wanting more. Teachers will find this book and its library companions doing just that. Part of the "Cycles" series. 2001, The Millbrook Press, $22.40. Ages 7 to 12. Reviewer: Kathleen Orosz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Realistic, detailed watercolors accompany descriptions of the life cycles of a sunflower, a mushroom, and a grasshopper. A child plants a sunflower seed and then watches as the plant grows taller than her father. Mushroom spores, spread by the wind, search for suitable places to grow. A baby grasshopper hatches, sheds its skin several times as it matures, and finally lays eggs to begin the cycle once again. Boxed insets include a few facts about the object at hand. The clear language and conversational tone make this book a good choice for reading aloud in an introductory classroom lesson on the topic.-Michele Capozzella, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.