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SPROUT, SEED, SPROUT!

A young child experiences the work, waiting, and reward of growing an avocado tree from seed.

In fewer than 150 words, Dunklee traces the path from seed to tree. When an avocado seed pops free during dinner prep, a smiling child retrieves it, pokes it with toothpicks for supports, and sets it atop a glass of water in hopes that it will sprout. The child and a pet cat work side by side to nurture the new plant. Each double-page spread captures one step in the journey that includes both the practical (potting, watering, ensuring sunlight, and replanting outside) and the whimsical (an encouraging song, lucky coins, and “supportive friends”). Counting to three creates the gentle rhythm of the story. Actions are often completed in three steps and described in three words: “One pot. Two careful hands. Three scoops of soil. Pat, pat, pat.” Similarly, three words, sometimes repeated, emphasize key emotions, as “I…GIVE…UP!” gives way to “HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY!” Simple illustrations, primarily in soft shades of blue, yellow, and avocado, show steps that readers could duplicate at home. The cat’s attention (or inattention) adds humor; its glowering inclusion with a stuffed bunny and toy robot as one of the “supportive friends” is particularly funny. The child and their parent present white.

This quiet book effectively describes the meditative, sometimes-frustrating process that growing a plant entails. (Picture book. 4-8)

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