Author: Wendy Pfeffer Illustrator: James Graham Hale
Age Level: 4-8 years
Publishers: Harper Collins
From Seed to Pumpkin is an informational picture book in the ‘Let’s Read and Find Out’ series. With the support of clear illustrations, the text explains the stages in the life cycle of a pumpkin plant.
This is an excellent introduction to plant lifecycles and to understand how fruits and vegetables kids see at the market are grown on farms.
The book introduces children to complex concepts in simple language and analogies. For example, the transportation of water in plants is compared to how water travels up a straw. Surprisingly the author doesn’t label the concepts with the corresponding scientific vocabulary. The book explains that plants make their own food and even lists what plants need to make food, but there is no mention of the word ‘Photosynthesis.’ Since the book is a step-by-step science book, it is a good portal to expose young primary students to content vocabulary.
The text and the illustrations tie in the stages of the plant growth with the seasons. It would be very interesting to compare the difference in weather/season in different parts of the world. For example, while pumpkins are tied to Halloween and Thanksgiving in the US, pumpkins are important during Pongal.
The book gives a few activities at the back, one of which is to roast pumpkin seeds. Here’s another activity to give it a desi twist. Do a taste test with your children. Give them pumpkin pie, Kaddu halwa (pumpkin halwa, a sweet dish) or the south Indian style pumpkin sambaar (pumpkin in daal). Find out which one they like best and why?
When we did the activity in our reading group, my five-year-old loved the pumpkin sambaar because one of the mothers brought steaming hot rice with it. You never know what new tastes our kids will discover at these taste tests!