The Seed and the Giant Saguaro
Author: Jennifer Ward; Illustrator: Mike K. Rangner
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher/Date: Rising Moon/2003
ISBN: 0873588452
Age Levels: 4-8

Book Review

This book, written in playful rhyme, chronicles how a "seed so black and tiny" travels through the desert and eventually takes root in the earth, growing into a giant saguaro.

Helping along the way is a packrat who carries "with a great deal of worry" the fruit which contains the seeds Why? Because he was being chased by a "snake that slid with no sound" who, by the way, is being followed by a "bird that raced on the ground" who is . . . well, you get the picture.

The double-page spreads—done in rich greens, purples, golds, and yellows—illustrate the desert flora and fauna wonderfully. Readers will enjoy the discovering the clever details found throughout the book.

The author has included a "timeline" of how saguaros grow in the Sonoran Desert in addition to a page of "Fun Facts" about the creatures mentioned in the story. Did you know, for example, that coyotes can "dash" up to 30 miles per hour!

Classroom Experiences: This fun read-aloud was a huge hit in every classroom in which we reviewed it. The text's repeating rhyme, written in the style of "This is the House That Jack Built," allowed students the opportunity to predict what the speaker was going to say.

Classroom Uses: In addition to being used as an engaging tale for storytime, it can also be used to build phonemic awareness and to enrich social studies units on deserts, plants, and more.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2003 Education Oasis

About the Author

Jennifer Ward is the author of several popular books for children including Over in the Garden and the award-winning Somewhere in the Ocean, both by Rising Moon. Jennifer's inspiration for this book came from her own home in Tucson, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, daughter, two zany dogs, and lots of amazing saguaros. Be sure to visit the author's website. Go here for lesson plans.

About the Illustrator

Mike K. Rangner attended Pacific Northwest College of Art, and has since started his career as a freelance illustrator. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, daughter, son, and dog, where he enjoys painting the great outdoors.