WEEDS FIND A WAY, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher.
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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, ages 3 - 7)
Here's the latest review from School Library Journal
JENSON-ELLIOTT, Cindy. Weeds Find a Way. illus. by Carolyn Fisher. 40p. S & S/Beach Lane. Feb. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442412606; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781442441262. LC 2011018524.
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