Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and Carolyn Fisher

According to the Oxford Dictionary, weeds are wild plants that grow where they are not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. ‘Unwanted’ though they may be, especially to serious landscapers or gardeners, no one can deny that there’s something admirable about the remarkable resilience of weeds and their ability to grow and thrive in the most unexpected and implausible places. Drains? Check. A crack in the pavement? Why not? Just give these highly adaptable plants the minimum they need to survive and they will do just that.

Seen in this light, Weeds Find a Way is thus a fitting homage to these ubiquitous yet humble plants.

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Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes

The contents of Swirl by Swirl are pretty self-evident from its full title: basically, it provides a comprehensive summary of where — and sometimes even why — spirals, in all its forms, occur in nature. Instead of simply doing a dry scientific study, however, the authors have created a stunning book that would be more accurately described as poetic and artistic.

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Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres and Nadine Bernard Westcott

One of the inevitable consequences of raising city kids is that most of them will never get the chance to visit a real farm or do any real gardening. Also, since the fresh produce that they get is bought from the markets or, more commonly, the supermarkets, it’s hard for them to reconcile the idea that fruits and vegetables don’t come in their ready-to-eat forms, but have to be harvested from plants. (Let’s not get into how we get meat on the table…) Thus, books can be a wonderful way to get kids to become more aware of the roots (pun intended) of their food.

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The Growing Story by Ruth Krauss and Helen Oxenbury

One of the paradoxes of life is that when you’re a child, all you ever want is to be a grown-up; but when you become a grown-up, you moan about growing old and wonder why you were in such a hurry to leave your carefree childhood behind in the first place. But I digress.

The Growing Story is a sweet story about a little boy who worries that he’s not growing, especially when he observes the plants and animals around him growing bigger and changing rapidly throughout the changing seasons whereas he still seems to look the same.

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The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

The Carrot Seed is a classic book (first published in 1945!) about a boy who tries to grow a carrot by planting a seed.

Even though everyone around him tells him repeatedly that he would fail, the boy pays them no heed and continues to weed and water his little plot of land.

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Eventually, of course, his patience, perseverance and hard work are rewarded.

Thanks to the book’s very clean, simple text and artwork, even very young toddlers will be able to enjoy this timeless tale.