Monday 20 May 2019

Grace’s Mystery Seed

Grace’s Mystery Seed by Juliet Sampson and Karen Erasmus (Ford Street)
ISBN 9781925804218 PB RRP $16.95 PB $24.95 HB

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Grace’s Mystery Seed is a gentle tale about a girl called Grace and her elderly neighbour Mrs Marino. It does contain a mystery, and this keeps the reader turning the pages to discover what happens. Beautiful water colour and ink illustrations, by Karen Erasmus, fill every page with gardens and plants. This is a story about patience, and the value of waiting for something worthwhile to happen.  

 Grace is a little girl who is curious about gardens and Mrs Marino has the best one in the street. When Grace asks what kind of seed the parrot is eating, Mrs Marino helps Grace to plant it. Then they wait for it to come up. While the rest of Grace’s class have theories about what it could be, all Grace and her best friend Leo can do is wait. And no one is disappointed – the seed is an impressive sunflower, with plenty of seeds for all.

The inter-generational relationship between Grace and Mrs Marino is a highlight of this story. So are the illustrations, which have so much to look at. In many there are a cat walking along a fence and a dog on the other side. There are also chickens and parrots to spot. Karen Erasmus has illustrated several picture books including most recently The Flying Optometrist and Eva’s Imagination.

Previously published as an adult romance writer, this is Juliet Sampson’s first children's picture book. Grace's Mystery Seed is suitable for lower primary school students. It provides its readers with information about the natural world in the form of an engaging and enjoyable story.  

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