"Miss Maple's Seeds" is a quiet story that envelopes the reader through
sound, text and pictures on a journey of rest and renewal. Ms. Wheeler‘s
soft, imaginative illustrations portray a sense of comfort in her tiny
world, where a miniature woman is a seed gatherer.
The story begins as
Miss Maple arrives home on an August morning to her house inside a maple
tree. She is preparing for her guests, a flock of bluebirds, who are
bringing in the seeds she has been out gathering all summer. These are
special seeds: seeds that were orphaned, lost and "unsprouted."
Once there, Miss Maple cleans them up, learning about each one, teaching
them how seeds are carried throughout the big world on winds or water until
they reach just the right spot where the soil will welcome them. She teaches
them about safe places, away from weeds, where they can grow safely. Each
night she tucks them in and reads stories, keeping them cozy throughout the
long winter. In the spring she explains about the rains they will need to
grow and make the ground soft so they can burrow down into it.
Finally on a windy spring morning in May, Miss Maple sends all of her
little seeds off on their own to journey to their new homes, with the
reminder that even large trees started as a tiny seed. Her love and care
will see them safely on the journey where they can put down roots to start a
Then she returns to her home for a cup of tea in her rocking chair until
summer comes, when she will once again set off to gather more lost seeds.
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Ms. Wheeler's lyrical text combined with cozy pictures of the
seeds nestling in beds of straw, or before a bright burning fire,
are what brings such a special touch to this book about seasons and
Miss Maple's grandmotherly demeanor, even when she is kicking up
her booted heels in a thunderstorm, gives readers the sense of
comfort that someone is there to guide the little seeds through
life's sometimes scary journey. The world Ms. Wheeler creates, with
flower air balloons, nut baskets, leaf boats and umbrellas, may have
readers searching their backyards to re-create some of the scenes
from her pictures.
One cannot help wondering, as Miss Maple sets off with her
suitcases once again, what wonderful sights she will experience on
this trip. Oh, that we could soar on the back of the bird with her!
To find this story or others about seasons or by this author,
come visit the Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St.
[By LOUELLA MORELAND, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]
Ms. Lou's blog: