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Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food

Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food

by Cris Peterson, David R. Lundquist (Photographer)

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Seed. Soil. Sun. With these simple ingredients, nature creates our food. Noted author Cris Peterson brings both wonder and clarity to the subject of agriculture, celebrating the cycle of growth, harvest, and renewal.


Seed. Soil. Sun. With these simple ingredients, nature creates our food. Noted author Cris Peterson brings both wonder and clarity to the subject of agriculture, celebrating the cycle of growth, harvest, and renewal.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A sturdy addition for its graceful language and cheery pictures." --Kirkus Reviews

"A standout in a widely covered field." --School Library Journal

"A wonderful resource for science classes studying plants or farms of food, this volume makes the cycle of growth readily understandable. Bibliography." --Library Media Connection

Publishers Weekly
For kids who think food comes from the supermarket, this direct guide to how plants grow should set them straight: "When you eat lettuce, you are eating a leaf. When you eat celery, you are eating a stem." Peterson explains how most food comes from seeds, which--thanks to nutrients from soil and energy from the sun--grow into fruits and vegetables. Lundquist's color photographs (many of which feature children getting in on the action of planting, harvesting, and eating) may have kids considering an attempt at growing their own food. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Though farm kids will find this recipe self-evident, urban dwellers may not be so sure where their food comes from. Using a conversational style, Peterson stresses the basics so readers will understand that all our food originates from plants, which mostly grow from seeds. Text and photographs combine to show many colorful kinds; one assemblage of smaller photos displays seeds from a cut red tomato, a green pepper, peas in a pod, and an orange cantaloupe. A farmer and his daughter show off their seed corn, shoots, and a field of tall green corn. Rich soil is vital, too, full of nutrients and wriggly earthworms to aerate, shown in children's curled hands and in close-up with their castings. Energy comes from the sun—Peterson makes it clear that plants are unique in using sunlight to grow. Turning sun, water, and carbon dioxide into sugar, they store it in every part: leaves, stems, flowers, roots, and fruit. (Lush photos show a huge bunch of blue grapes, ripe red tomatoes, golden pumpkins, and luscious salad greens.) Though water is mentioned, it's not included as an integral part of the recipe, perhaps an oversight since American kids should know that lack of fresh water in many countries is leading to drought, malnourishment, and even starvation. One jarring note: in the midst of all this colorful abundance, black and white cows (eating plant food to make milk and meat), severely restrained and with tags buttoned in each ear, seem to stare resentfully at the viewer. Still, the big, bright book could be an inspiration for school gardens, while a bibliography offers a list of eleven other good books to reinforce the concepts. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—This introduction to how seeds become food is a standout in a widely covered field. Clearly written in simple language, the narrative is often poetic as the growth of seeds planted in soil, watered by rain, and powered by the sun is explained. The photographs throughout are crisp and vibrant. The close-ups are stunning, from the fragile-looking leaf breaking through impenetrable-looking dirt clods to the fuzzy hairs of brand-new leaves, backlit by the sun. The transformation of a corn seed that can be held between a child's fingers into a mature plant that the child needs to stand on a step ladder to reach is succinctly accomplished in one paragraph and three photographs. The partnership of farmers and seeds, soil and sun is highlighted in this accessible explanation of this agricultural cycle.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Peterson, a Wisconsin dairy farmer, adds another title to a barnful of agricultural nonfiction for kids. The unadorned narrative describes the effects of rain, sunshine and the teeming microorganisms in soil on germination and growth. "Part of the seed—the root—grows down into the soil. Another part of the seed—the shoot—reaches for the sun." Earthworms get their due praise for "eating debris and discharging it as a rich natural fertilizer called castings." Lundquist, a corporate photographer specializing in agricultural co-ops, supplies ample pictures that, while clear and colorful, sometimes look stock. In contrast, a spring cornfield looks muzzy, almost pointillist—out of sync with other photos. Corn—the staple of Midwest monoculture—supplies much of the verbal and pictorial fodder, and feedlot cows garner a couple of photo ops because they eat plants. A sturdy addition for its graceful language and cheery pictures, but its mind-set is more Big Ag than Michael Pollan. (further reading, sources) (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.20(d)
AD1050L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Cris Peterson is the author of ten books for children, and has been honored by dairy and agricultural organizations across the U.S. She was named National Dairy Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in 2004. Ms. Peterson and her family run a dairy farm in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

David Lundquist is the photographer of Fantastic Farm Machines and Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More. His work has won numerous national awards and international recognition. Mr. Lundquist lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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