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A Packet of Seeds Hardcover – March 30, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-In this poignant account of a pioneer family's experiences, Annie relates how she and her family leave their home and journey west. While her father sees the promise of new land just waiting to be claimed, her mother feels the sorrow of saying good-bye to loved ones. On the morning of their departure, each of Momma's friends gives her a small white packet. Life is hard on the prairie, and when the woman gives birth to a baby girl in the spring, she is too sad to name her. With the help of her father and brother, Annie clears a patch of earth for a kitchen garden. Realizing Annie's intentions, her mother asks her to bring the packets, which contain seeds for daisies, larkspur, poppies, and hollyhocks. Momma rolls up her sleeves to begin planting, finally ready to make this place her home. Using clear language with a homespun flair, Hopkinson captures a child's perception of events. The illustrations, breathtakingly executed in gouache and oil paints, effectively depict the windswept prairie. Young readers will appreciate the work and adversities the pioneers faced and what they had to do to prepare the land for the nonnative trees, flowers, and plants that have survived long after. An author's note provides more information about women settlers and pioneer plants. A moving and enriching look at a slice of American history.-Marian Creamer, Children's Literature Alive, Portland, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Annie's father wants to move west, where people aren't "close as kernels on the cob." Friends bring good-bye gifts, and Annie's family sets off for weeks in their covered wagon. Life on the dusty prairie is difficult and lonely, and Annie's mother becomes more withdrawn, until finally, she rarely leaves her bed. Then Annie remembers her mother's words that "friends and flowers . . . gladden your heart." She convinces her father to help her plow a garden, and the ready brown plot cheers her mother, who brings out the good-bye gifts: flower seeds from home. Similar to Eve Bunting's Dandelions (1995), this book tells a quiet, moving story about the isolation and weariness of pioneer life, the pain of leaving loved ones, and the hope growing things can bring. Andersen's gouache-and-oil paintings beautifully capture the breathtaking expanse of the prairie in arcs of color and curved horizons that reinforce the message: "the same sweet earth " holds the old home as well as the new. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060090898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060090890
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,351,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is as award-winning of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers. In 2013 she received a Robert F. Sibert Honor and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.

She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

Deborah's most recent book, The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal.

Visit her on the web at www.deborahhopkinson.com

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My five-year old daughter and I picked this out at our library. It's a warm family story about a pioneer family and the bonds that tied women together. Afterward she wanted to go out and help me in the garden. I have several friends about to have babies and this will be just perfect. The paintings are lovely and evocative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Brock on May 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read hundreds of books every year, and never once have I felt the need to write a review until now. I am amazed this book does not have more reviews. It is a gem. I just read it at the school library with my 8 year old daughter and could not hold back the tears-they were pouring down my face as I read it(embarassingly enough). This is a child's book, but it's also a book for women. It's the PERFECT gift to give a dear friend--especially if they are moving away. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
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By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on October 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A Packet Full of Seeds is set in the 1880's. A family is moving out west to start a new life. The mother is very unsure about the move. Before they leave the mother's friends give her a special gift, some seeds from each of their gardens. She gets really depressed when she sees how bare the land is around her. The children want to plant her a garden to cheer her up. They get seeds from a neighor and start to work. They are sad thay they don't have any flowers. Then their mother gives them the packets given to her before her journey. The plant them together and things start to look up for the whole family.

The book is a little long for a picture book. Young children may have a hard time sitting still to listen to it.

We recommed this book to go with a history unit on the westward movement. Teachers can share this book with the class and they can discuss may aspects of life in the 1800's
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By celedonia on September 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully told and illustrated tale, which deserves to be much better known. Although it is written for younger elementary children, it will also speak to the heart of any woman who had moved away from friends and family, faced hardships to create a better life for her family, suffered post-partum depression, or even smiled at flowers in bloom. I was moved to tears as I thought of what the pioneer women in my past faced.
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Format: Hardcover
This story is about a pioneer family who starts a farm on the prairie. The pictures are beautiful, but the book would probably only be appropriate for younger elementary. The mother is sad about living a lonely life on the prairie, but cheered up by the gift of flower seeds from friends back home. This book might be useful to talk about loneliness, moving, and having a new baby in the family.
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