Warm weather days are upon us, school’s just about out for summer, and it’s that time of year when many kids can get excited about gardening. If You Hold a Seed ($16.95, Running Press Kids, Ages 3 and up) is a picture book with few words, yet it conveys a big message. The story is all about planting a tree seed and waiting for it to grow through every kind of weather during the year.
The beauty of this book is in its simplicity as well as its unique illustrations. When I first looked at the book, I wondered how writer and artist Elly MacKay managed to capture light so realistically. I learned on her website that she creates her pictures by employing a most innovative process. She uses plastic paper so she can stretch it, layer it and use it to catch light. She then places her illustrations in a handmade box of sorts, held with wires, so she can shine light through the images at different angles to get the look she wants. With the use of tissue paper and layers of color, the illustrations have remarkable depth.
Reading this charming book with your children will get them excited about summer and will make them want to plant their own seeds and climb a tree. They may even be inspired to paint some unusual pictures of their own.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade