Seed Magic by Natalie McKinnon and Margaret Tolland
The Spider series, Starfish Bay, 2018, ISBN 9781760360313
(Age: 5-7) Themes: Plants - life cycle, Anxiety, Friendship. Natalie McKinnon's story "Seed Magic" draws elements from the Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper. She is passionate about educating young children, to develop understandings of where food comes from and their relationships with the natural environment. Here, she explores the rhythms of the seasons, the life cycle of plants and the magical qualities of seeds.
In a quiet corner of the garden, shy Little Spider hides in her comfy leaf, listening to the everyday sounds. She hears the peaceful garden song, the tap drip-dripping and the owl family hooting. However her peacefulness is disturbed by Anxious Ant's refrain 'hurry, scurry, worry-worry,' as he rushes about gathering his stockpile of seeds. He counts each seed out aloud, determined to be ready for winter. Wise Little Spider understands the importance leaving seeds in the ground ready to germinate in Spring-time.
She offers to spin a silky warm scarf for the ant in exchange for five seeds. This exchange leads to a special friendship as they observe the seasonal changes brought by the warm Spring sunshine and rain, watching these seeds sprouting, the plant growing and then producing juicy fruit. Anxious Ant learns about seed magic.
McKinnon's modern fable has an ecological message, take only what you need or the balance of nature is compromised. Her detailed descriptive story is beautifully captured by Tolland's painted garden scenes, with native New Zealand red blossoms and natural tones. "Seed Magic" is suitable for Junior Primary Science classes observing plants and their life cycles.