Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Tiny Seed

Author                               : Eric Carle
Illustrated by                      : Eric Carle
Age range recommended   : 4+
Theme                               : Nature, Germination and growth,  flowers and garden, perseverance

We are beginning our author-based reviews on our blog today with Eric Carle, a favourite in our home. We have read 5 books by this author already and that is more than enough for us to decide that we will be reading a lot more of his work in the days to come. 

Eric Carle is an author, illustrator and designer of children’s books. He was born in 1929 to German parents and had a traumatic childhood in the World War times. School was not enjoyable then, and that’s the reason as an artist, Eric strives to help children enjoy school more than he did.  His most famous work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969 and has been translated into 55 different languages. His artwork is distinctive and is recognised as a collage technique, very evident and trademarked in all his books. He used numerous hand-painted papers and cut and layered them to form bright, bold and colourful images. 

The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature— an interest shared by most small children. 

Eric Carle has a beautiful way of telling his stories – all his stories are almost profound. His books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Mixed Up Chameleon and The Tiny Seed are must-have’s in one’s library. Today we will look at a very sublime and awesome book, The Tiny Seed.

Opening lines –  
It is Autumn.

A strong wind is blowing. It blows flower seeds high in the air and carries them far across the land. One of the seeds is tiny, smaller than any of the others. Will it be able to keep up with the others? And where are they all going?

One of the seeds flies higher than the others. Up, up it goes! It flies too high and the sun’s hot rays burn it up. But the tiny seed sails on with the others.

Introduction and Synopsis –
One by one, all the seeds are lost; one is eaten by a bird, one falls on an icy mountain, one falls in the ocean and so on. A couple of seeds finally settle down in the earth just before winter sets in. By the time spring sets in there are only a few seeds that grow into plants. Even then, there are weeds that rob the plants of nutrients and the plants cannot grow any longer. The tiny seed, the tiniest of all, that was in constant fear of not making it all through its journey, grows into a plant. Even so, the plants around it beat the dust as playful children stomp on them or people pluck them out to gift flowers. The tiny seed is lucky and grows big and by the time it’s summer, it has grown into an enormous plant with a giant flower. People come from far and near to look at this flower that is the tallest ever. All summer long, the flower brings joy to all the bees and butterflies. 

It’s autumn again and the cool winds now slowly, one by one, blow away all the petals of the flower. When it blows harder, the seed pod opens, sending out tiny seeds that fly away far and across the land. 

Why did my caterpillar and I like this book?
ME – 
It is the story of the life-cycle of a plant or a flower.  But it’s not just the science of it. Yes I mean, there is the science, of course. It’s very good. The illustrations and the eloquent text bring out the germination story beautifully.  

But the magic of Eric Carle’s story telling is in realising how profound a lesson he is giving to the little ones with this story. THE SMALLEST SEED BECAME A GIANT FLOWER. Braving all odds, where bigger, faster and higher soaring seeds succumbed to diverse weather and environment conditions, the tiny seed grows into a plant, branching out downward as roots and above the soil into delicate stems. It’s like an amazing saga of survival against odds. Just because something is small or tiny does not mean that it amounts to nothing. Just like the tiny seed, we all do things, in our own time. Hang in there. Stick it out. Do your thing. Perseverance is a virtue. Brilliant. 

It might seem like a complicated thing to teach your 4 year old, but the broad smile on her face, which she will give you as she sees the seed growing, will tell you all. There is nothing to teach, really. 

By now she is familiar with Eric Carle’s illustrative style. She calls him the ‘Caterpillar story-writer’. She was eager to search and find the tiny seed in each page and was relieved to know it made the journey. The smile that she gave when she saw the plant growing, I have to tell you, was priceless. It thrilled me to bits that she just, so simply, understood. The little ones love an underdog story too! :-)

The movement of the tiny seed also appeals to the curiosity  of the growing minds. It gives a fantastic avenue to follow up with an experiment on germination that you can do at home or show them what it takes for that flower on your kitchen sill plant to eventually blossom. Scientific or emotional, this book agrees with you on both levels.

Online link -
We found this you tube link to the story. 

The cocoon rates it -


The book is a must have. 
It is wordy, as you can make out from the link. But I would still urge you to take it up with your little one. The story is far too interesting for your child to be distracted by the eloquent text.


  1. Beautiful pictures and what sounds like a very interesting story.

  2. Already on our wishlist! Loved your review. Eric Carle is definitely an author to look out for..

  3. Love this book...such a magical and brilliant story