SILVER SPRING, Md, April 27, 2013 – Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler ISBN: 9780399257926
Miss Maple is a tiny, kind woman who reminds one of a grandmotherly tree spirit. She lives in a hollow of a maple tree, she rides on the backs of birds, and floats down streams in boats made from leaves. She travels the world looking for orphaned seeds that she can help get ready for next year’s planting.
The story, told through beautiful watercolor illustrations, follows Miss Maple and her collection of seeds from the August morning when she returns home with them, through the long winter, until a spring morning when she says farewell to her seeds and sets off to find next year’s crop.
Miss Maple knows that seeds are “all similar yet none the same,” and takes care of the seeds by washing them and teaching them about being a seed. She takes them on tours of the streams, fields and forests to show them the world in which they will grow, and reads them stories by firefly light.
She keeps them warm and snug in her tree during the long winter months. When spring comes, she helps the seeds learn to dance in the rain and in the wind to find homes in the ground. Then on a windy May day, Miss Maple sends her seeds out into the world. The very next morning she sets out to find newly orphaned seeds.
Despite being a new release, the artwork along with the depicted details of Miss Maple’s world give the story a fairytale feel. Miss Maple is a character that is not quite Mother Nature, but rather a woodland spirit who lends a helping hand to the natural world.
Wheeler’s creativity does the story justice. She works natural elements, like flower petals and maple helicopters, into Miss Maple’s tools and modes of transportation. So much so, that you can really imagine a tiny elf-like woman living inside a hole in a maple tree, or floating down a stream on a leaf. The grandmotherly figure of Miss Maple also rings true in that she is so relatable. You can almost imagine her doting over the seeds as if they were her own grandchildren in your own backyard.
Miss Maple’s Seeds is a good book to add to a collection that teaches about nature. It subtly teaches children about how seeds are dispersed through the world and how they grow. It is a good compliment to the classic Miss Rumphius.
While this is Wheeler’s first book, the story and artwork in Miss Maple’s Seeds portends many good things to come.
Published by Nancy Paulsen Book in April of 2013, Miss Maple’s Seeds is available as a hardcover or ebook.
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