A Seed Is the Start

Melissa Stewart. National Geographic, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4263-2977-7

In a brightly photographed primer about how seeds travel, grow, and thrive as plants, Stewart (Feathers: Not Just for Flying) begins with a corn seed. A cross-section of ground shows the seed as it splits open, its roots push down, a shoot pokes out of the soil, and the corn plant sprouts leaves. Stewart presents other types of seeds, using playful verbs to describe the way they move away from their parent plants. Some seeds “fly” on the wind; others “tumble” across land or “spill,” like those from the poppy plant. Cottonwood seeds “float” on water, and some even “creep,” like that of the blue cornflower: “On humid days, the bristles swell. Thanks to these tiny movements, the seed slowly creeps across the ground.” A section discusses how some seeds travel inside the bodies of animals and are dispersed through digestion: “A few days later, the deer poops out the seeds far away from the parent plant.” Stewart offers an inviting and visually compelling introduction to an essential concept. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)