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This Is the Sunflower

This Is the Sunflower

by Lola M. Schaefer, Donald Crews (Illustrator)

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First there is a sunflower.

Seasons pass ... and soon there is a patch of sunflowers.

Budding young gardeners will discover that what makes this happen is not magic - but is most definitely magical.


First there is a sunflower.

Seasons pass ... and soon there is a patch of sunflowers.

Budding young gardeners will discover that what makes this happen is not magic - but is most definitely magical.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
With a rhyming verse following the "House that Jack Built" cumulative pattern, Schaefer presents the sunflower, its seeds, the birds and their beaks that crack open the seeds, and the eventual growth of a whole patch of flowers from one seed. Crews designs pages bursting with the flower's power--first the brilliant yellow that dominates the double page, then the feasting of seventeen birds, all identified at the end along with further information, then the rain and the sun's wiggly rays, and finally a "patch of sunflowers, tall and bright." He takes the theme and invents delightful variations in vivid watercolors that pay homage to this special flower. 2000, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 3 to 6, $15.95. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
PreS-K-There are many picture books about sunflowers, but this fine, new one doesn't resemble any of them. It begins with a full bloom: "This is the sunflower,/tall and bright,/that stands in my garden/day and night." The cumulative rhyme continues la "The House That Jack Built." The birds come and eat some seeds and spill others, the rain and sun make the seeds sprout, and by the end of the book, "a patch of sunflowers,/tall and bright,/stands in my garden/day and night." Crews's watercolor illustrations combine realism and imagination to show the interaction of the plant, the birds, and the weather. Sometimes colorful silhouettes of birds fly in winding paths of thickened brush strokes. On one double-page spread, the text is ringed by 17 heads and beaks of different birds, all messily cracking sunflower seeds. This illustration is repeated on the last page, labeled with the name of each bird and a paragraph of facts about the flowers. A simple, elegant book, filled with a little information and a lot of pleasure.-Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Schaefer starts with one sunflower growing tall in her garden and shows how just one makes many. Cumulative verse, reminiscent of This is the House That Jack Built, describes the growth cycle starting with the flower, then the seeds within the blossom; birds eat and scatter the seeds; the rain and the sun cause the sprouts to grow and, come next summer, there are many sunflowers standing in the garden. Sunflower facts and identification of the seventeen common birds shown in the illustrations are there if adults choose to augment the rhyme with more information. Crews's impressionist watercolors go beyond the text, deepen the understanding of the words and provide a context for understanding the concepts of the growth cycle. The sunflower, shown larger than the house and tree, describes the words tall and bright. To illustrate the flower that stands day and night, Crews paints a scene in which there are elements of both daylight and night. The beaks of the birds that crack the seeds are shown facing into a circle, their heads and beaks are realistic, yet in the next illustration, they fly on the page, wings outspread like angels with long robes behind to show they are `full of song." Although there is no mention of seasons in the text, Crews takes us through fall, winter, spring, bringing us finally to the field of sunflowers in summer. May be enjoyed as a poem or as a springboard for nature study. (sunflower facts, names of birds) (Picture book. 37)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Lola M. Schaefer is the author of several books for children, including An Island Grows; Pick, Pull, Snap! Where Once a Flower Bloomed, an NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts; and What's Up, What's Down? She lives with her husband, Ted, in the mountains of north Georgia, where she occasionally observes the back end of a black bear, coyote, or gray fox.

Donald Crews is the renowned creator of many celebrated children's books, including the Caldecott Honor Books Freight Train and Truck. He and his wife, Ann Jonas, live in New York's Hudson River Valley.

Donald Crews es el renombrado autor de dos libros merecedores del premio Caldecott, Tren de carga (Freight Train) y School Bus. Vive con su esposa, Ann Jonas, cerca del Río Hudson, en Nueva York.

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