The Little Green Pea

Alison Barber, Author, Paige Susan Keiser, Illustrator , illus. by Paige Keiser Sleeping Bear $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58536-448-0

Barber's debut stars a pea that dreams of becoming a tree, but the story's logic (as well as its verse) falters. Initially, the other peas scorn the bow tie–wearing pea: “you're too wee to become a tree!” Upon being picked, the pea is headed for a tuna casserole, but falls to the ground, where a worm eats him. “Do not be sad for the little green pea,” says the worm, revealed to be the narrator. “You see, a pea is a seed,” it explains, somewhat obliquely. “We worms do the mixing.... We especially like poo (we really do!)/ 'cause out of it all; something grew, grew, grew.” On the final page, readers see three trees on a hillside; the tallest wears the pea's red bow tie. Readers may have questions. If peas are seeds, can they really grow into trees? Does the pea know he's a tree? And what does poo have to do with it? In Keiser's soft, watercolor spreads, some creatures, like the bespectacled worm, are anthropomorphized, while others are more naturalistic, reflecting the tug-of-war between the whimsical and the factual. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/06/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
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