Weeds Find a Way

After almost four years of blog posts, it can be challenging to come up with fresh topics, things that I haven't written about or showed you before. Which is why today's post is so very special, as it's a first for this blog, something I guarantee you haven't read about here before.

It's a review of a gardening book, of sorts. Although I've done several book reviews before, until today I have not reviewed a children's book. So I was excited to give this one a look...


Before we get started, I should mention that I did not find this book -- it found me. Or more accurately, its publicist found me and sent me a copy of the book to review. Other than the free book, I was not compensated for this post.

Although I still have many of the children's books that I grew up with, it's been a few years since there have been any kids of appropriate age in my family for which I would buy books like this. But I still love this type of tome, as a really good children's book is a work of art. Much like a well-crafted poem, the words in these books are chosen with care as there are usually not too many of them with which the story must be told. Also, they have to sound good when being read aloud, right?

Weeds Find a Way was written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, and it (not surprisingly) is about weeds, their seeds, and how they grow almost anywhere.

It's quite lyrical, and the text itself is artistically woven into the illustrations...

...which are amazing! Carolyn Fisher is the illustrator, and her artwork is wonderfully textural, colorful, imaginative, yet accurate -- you'll find images of plants that you will recognize on almost every page.

Insects too:

As you know, I love textures. This book has them everywhere!

Not having access to any children, I couldn't test this story out on its target audience, but it seems quite nice to me. The book doesn't end when the story does though, as there is a wonderful feature in the last few pages:

A reference guide to common weeds!

What a wonderful way to get a child interested in the plants around them, whether they have access to a garden or not.

Because weeds will find a way!

I do have one negative comment about the book: its cover. Although I love the cover image (see the first photo of this post), it's on a jacket. The cover when the jacket is removed (which it seems is likely to happen at some point with a children's book) is interesting, but strangely generic:

Although I wonder if this is because I got a review copy? Maybe it's common for children's books to have jackets these days? As I admitted, I haven't bought any in recent years so don't know.

In summary, Weeds Find a Way is a nice introduction to these common plants, with wonderful words that sound great when read aloud, captivating illustrations that will satisfy even the most eager eyes, and the bonus of an educational and interesting reference at the back. (It's listed as Ages 4-8)

My typical four book review questions don't really apply here, but I'll list them anyway:

Am I glad to have it on my bookshelf?  
Would I be disappointed if I misplaced it it?
Will I read it again?   I would if I had children of the right age to read to!
Would I give it as a gift?   Yes! In fact, I will be doing so very soon.


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danger garden  – (February 20, 2014 at 10:41 AM)  

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday? Yes the publicist found me too. I enjoyed it tremendously for all the same reasons you did. I did find it interesting that while the text of the book itself was clearly directed at the kids the reference section in the back was written in a much more adult way.

Bangchik and Kakdah  – (February 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM)  

Garden and Plants through the eyes of children would always be fun, fresh and memorable.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax!  – (February 20, 2014 at 1:40 PM)  

I don't know how publishers/publicists choose which bloggers to send books to - but I wish they had sent this book to me too - it looks wonderful!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax!  – (February 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM)  

Oh, and I meant to say - would you like to join us in following a tree? There's a page about it on my blog here http://looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-is-tree-following-and-list-of-tree.html and a Linky box on the most recent post. (From the beginning of March there will be one a month.) Your climate/terrain is very different to the one I experience in Dorset (England) so comparing the progress of trees through the year would be specially interesting.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 20, 2014 at 3:53 PM)  

LOL, I got a copy too. I'm not going to read your review until I've written my own :-).

Alan  – (February 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM)  

I can't believe I was first in posting my review! Funny how none of us have children of the right age for this... :)

Lisa  – (February 20, 2014 at 7:10 PM)  

I will watch for this one for my granddaughter! She loves to "read" and of course we enjoy reading to her. The illustrations look beautiful!

Cindy Jenson-Elliott  – (February 21, 2014 at 1:37 AM)  

Hi Alan,
Thank you so much for reading my book! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I am an elementary garden teacher, and write both for an audience of children, and an audience of teachers who are looking for more information on how to use the resources in their own school yards -- and back yards. My own garden, despite our drought in the west, is quite weedy at the moment, as is our school garden. But I was out with third graders today, weeding the grass from our native plant garden.
Let me know if you have any other questions. You can also download a curriculum guide to my book on my website at www.cindyjensonelliott.com

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