Weeds Find a Way

Overview

Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant…these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display!

From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants and is ...

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Overview

Weeds are wonderful! Persistent, exuberant…these plants have personalities, and this nonfiction picture book puts them on colorful display!

From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants and is sure to have little ones chanting, “Way to go, weeds!”

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  • Weeds Find a Way
    Weeds Find a Way  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
“Good or bad, weeds offer endless opportunities to study one of nature’s most wonderful tools: adaptation,” writes Jenson-Elliott in an afterword to this flowery (no pun intended) tribute to the tenacity and versatility of plants that are often overlooked and unwanted. Using mixed-media paintings and digitally collaged elements, Fisher (Good Night, World) presents up-close images of feathery seeds bursting from pods, “like confetti from a popped balloon,” and squeezing their way out of cracks in the cement. A girl and her dog make their way through several scenes, adding a touch of fauna amid the flora. In one scene, the girl blows dandelion puffs into the wind; in another, a handful of “prickly burrs” cling to her socks, both evidence of how weeds can propagate. In addition to her afterword, Jenson-Elliott concludes with three pages of details about two dozen types of weeds, from wild carrot (aka Queen Anne’s lace) to toxic locoweed. The many intriguing details will leave readers with the understanding that these plants are fighters. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Stefanie von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Feb.)
February 2014 School Library Journal
"Instead of lamenting their pesky invasiveness, Jenson-Elliott celebrates weeds for their heartiness and ability to disseminate and adapt...the bold colors of the mixed media/digital collage illustrations do an admirable job of making the ordinary become stunning. More detailed information about how weeds can actually be useful despite their reputation can be found in the back matter, along with a list both identifying and offering further facts about the plants pictured in the book.... Expect to have readers rooting and exploring for the ubiquitous plants."
Shelf Awareness
"With a text that celebrates their perseverance, endnotes that describe their uses and illustrations that commemorate their beauty, this book invites young readers to re-examine their view of weeds. . . . Elegant language and incidental rhymes make these pages as fun to read aloud as they are to pore over. . . . This fact-filled picture book that reads like poetry may well cause young readers to rethink the idea of unwanted guests in the garden."
February 2014 Booklist Online
"The language is lovely here, as seeds shoot, swirl, and poke, finding "a way to live where other plants can't grow." A little girl and her dog anchor the picture book, moving through beautiful natural landscapes…. An eye-opening look at what folks generally consider to be a nuisance."
Library Media Connection
"This book shares information about weeds which the reader will find fascinating. The word “weeds” usually conjures up plants that are unwanted; Jenson-Elliot presents weeds in a different light. . . . The full-page illustrations are beautiful, using earth colors. . . . This book would be a wonderful read-aloud."
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This is a new take on the ever-present “look at the pretty flowers” garden book. Instead, author Cindy Jenson-Elliot uses spare words to celebrate the fortitude of weeds, showing them to be the ultimate adaptors to the natural environment. Both city weeds and country weeds are lauded for the way they travel on the wind and unknowing hosts, use their natural adaptations to drive away predators, and fight attempts to excise them from gardens by breaking off at the root. Children who may think of dandelions as flowers and stickers on their socks as irritants are treated to a new and vibrantly colored view of troublesome weeds as another contributor to the natural growing cycle. A final double-page spread of fuchsia, blue, and green weeds overtaking a hillside is a statement to the fact that one man’s weeds is some child’s flowers. In terms of information, the backmatter provides a wealth of information about specific weeds that have practical applications in nature, food, and medicine, making them surprisingly useful plants. A glossary of specific types of weeds with an accompanying picture may act as a field guide to searching for weeds in the neighborhood. However, placing a full page of these valuable facts on the inside back cover of the book will make them inaccessible once library processing materials (such as taped-down plastic jackets) are placed over the book’s cover. Despite this flaw, this is a terrific addition to botany collections with a special emphasis on how plants adapt to their environment and serve unexpected human purposes. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-23
Adaptable weeds find ways to spread themselves and their seeds, to grow in strange places, and to be loved and admired. Mixed-media digital collage illustrations on double-page spreads follow a girl and her dog through a world of weeds, from seeds to flowers. Sometimes—as in an image of milkweed seeds shooting from a pod—these pictures focus on the weeds themselves; sometimes they include parts of the girl or dog; and some are full scenes. Weed seeds wait through a winter snow. They bake on hot sidewalks. They sprout "in a tangle of tree roots" and flower into "umbrellas of the finest white lace." Some shatter and spread when pulled; others avoid being eaten, thanks to thorns and poisons. The hand-lettered alliterative text provides a simple introduction to the idea of weeds. With very few lines to each page, it reads aloud smoothly. The author, a California-based nature educator, includes a "Meet the Weeds" afterword, defining them as plants growing where they aren't wanted and describing 24 common U.S. weeds, from dandelions to wild oats. A small, suggestive image accompanies each description. Neither formal introduction nor field guide, this unusual reminder of weeds' admirable qualities nevertheless merits a place on the nature-study shelf of preschool and early-elementary classrooms. (Informational picture book. 3-7)
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
K-Gr 2—Instead of lamenting their pesky invasiveness, Jenson-Elliott celebrates weeds for their heartiness and ability to disseminate and adapt. Poetic imagery describes how they are "shot out of tight, dry pods like confetti from a popped balloon" and "baking in shimmering summer heat on a white-hot sidewalk without a whisper of wind"), and the bold colors of the mixed media/digital collage illustrations do an admirable job of making the ordinary become stunning. More detailed information about how weeds can actually be useful despite their reputation can be found in the back matter, along with a list both identifying and offering further facts about the plants pictured in the book. Looking for where the nodding thistle, oxeye daisy, spotted knapweed, etc., appear in the story will encourage repeated readings and offer more opportunities for learning. Expect to have readers rooting and exploring for the ubiquitous plants.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442412606
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 351,491
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cindy Jenson-Elliott has written several nonfiction books for educational publishers. She is a freelance writer for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and educational publishers, as well as a teacher and natural history instructor. She has an MA in education, and she enjoys spending time outdoors in San Diego, California, where she lives with her family. Visit her at CindyJensonElliott.com.

Carolyn Fisher has written and illustrated several picture books, including Good Night, World by Willa Perlman and her own The Snow Show. Her illustrations have been commissioned by hundreds of magazines and newspapers, earned numerous awards, and been exhibited around North America. Carolyn has dual US and Canadian citizenship, and she lives with her family in Alberta, Canada. Visit her at CarolynFisher.com.

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