Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle


A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle by Sam Godwin is an engaging introduction to the life cycle of a plant.  The author describes the parts of the flower and the life cycle in language that is easy for younger readers to understand.  The bright and cheery illustrations by Simone Abel are sure to capture the attention of young children.

This story takes the reader from seed, to seedling, to bud, and finally to sunflower.  Along the way the two main characters of the book, Snail and Ladybug provide conversational dialogue that includes additional facts about plants and funny comments. On one page we learn that “The white shoot pushes its way through the soil. It has become a seedling.”  Snail says, “Plants need sunlight to make them big and strong.” Ladybug replies, “I like sunlight, too!”  The stem grows taller and thicker, gets sunlight and water, and plays host to little creatures of the garden.  Soon a bud appears and begins to unfold. “The bud turns into a beautiful flower. Bees and butterflies come to visit.”  Readers learn from Snail that the insects come to drink the nectar.  Finally the petals fall and the gardener collects the seeds to plant next spring.  The cycle is complete.  On the last page there is a two page illustration of the sunflower, so children have a chance to review the parts of the plant.

Curriculum Connections
This book is perfect for introducing the parts of a plant and learning about plant life cycles. It would work best in the K-1 classroom. The concepts included would integrate well with lessons where the students must investigate and understand the basic needs and life processes of plants and animals; including living things change as they grow and need food, water and air to survive; and plants and animals live and die (go through a life cycle) (SOLs k.6a,b, and 1.4a). It would also work well with students learning the parts of a plant (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, fruits) (SOL 1.4b)

Additional Resources

  • In the back of the book is a page of vocabulary words, a few fun facts and a short list of other books.
  • This sequencing worksheet would be a good exercise to reinforce the stages of the plant’s life cycle.
  • Students investigate the inside of a lima bean seed in this experiment.
  • This lesson plan has students grow their own seeds.
  • This web activity lets students put the parts of a plant together and shows a seed growing under different conditions.

Author: Sam Godwin
Simone Abel
Picture Window Books
Publication Date:
Grade Range:

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