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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Tiny Seed (The World of Eric Carle)
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful story about the life cycle of a seed. I used this book in my unit on plants for my 2nd grade class. It is a wonderful tool for a lesson on the beginning of a plant's life. Your students will love looking at the wonderful illustrations that reinforce the story. I highly recommend this piece of quality literature and all of Eric Carle's books for your child or classroom.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I think this book is fine, but not for the preschool crowd. I would use it with older children -- elementary age -- to discuss the life cycle of an annual, the role of the seasons, and the challenges of reproduction which must be overcome by all plants. The Tiny Seed introduces us to many of the hazards faced by seeds and seedlings as they attempt to grow (from falling in water and drowning, being eaten by birds or mice, being overshadowed by large weeds, being stepped on by children, and more) and shows how the ideal environment is a necessity. It covers the role of sunshine and rain, how the seed swells and bursts open, how the plant develops as it grows, and how it produces and disperses its seeds to carry on the next generation. It's not a book for small children, though, since its mostly non-fiction tone is dry, the phrases are stilted, and it doesn't read aloud well. I find it difficult to "cheer on" the tiny seed; where others see him as a hero facing difficult odds, I think the book is too grimly determined to be educational and becomes boring for the youngest child. If you want a book to introduce a unit on seed dispersal, this is the one. If you want to talk with your three year old about the cycle of the seasons, you'd be better off with the Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter collection by Gerda Muller.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book. I think that this is a very inspiring story to people who might think they are too small and won't amount to anything. This is not true in this case, it just takes a little longer to develop. The others develop quckly, and they end up ending quickly to. When he keeps going on, and never really gives up. He sure thinks about giving up a lot but never really does. In the end it will work out better for the person who has to try hard to get through everything, something bad is bound to happen to you. When you tr and never give up, you will succeed. You will become bigger and better than anyone who got an east way through life.
Because you had to go through so much on your journey, when everyone else had it easy,when they have to strugge to get through things, you will get to sit back and relax.
And this story demonstrates that just because you are small you can't grow bigger or can't do things. ...
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a big Eric Carle fan, and am stunned and saddened that he would put his name on this book.

1.) It does not portray the life cycle of a seed correctly at all. I would definitely not use this in the classroom, or as a tool to teach my child about seeds/plants. (Seeds don't catch on fire by flying too close to the sun, and flowers don't grow taller than houses in my neighborhood.) 2.) It is not good for pre-schoolers. Don't laugh, but it's too violent. All these seeds are killed off one by one -- frozen, burned, eaten, drowned. 3.) The lackluster illustrations are not up to the standard we expect from Eric Carle. 4.) Lastly, I'm not sure how more adequately I can describe this book than by just saying, "This is one really weird book."

It appears to have gotten some good reviews, so it might be a fit for some people out there. But, in my own opinion, it seems to me as though it was slapped together on a tight deadline, and with the thinking that by simply putting the Eric Carle name on it, people would buy it. (Unfortunate people like me.) Stick with the tried-and-true "Hungry Caterpillar" and "Brown Bear" classics if you want Eric Carle. And look elsewhere if you want a book that teaches kids about the life cycle of plants, like "This is the Sunflower" or "Bob and Otto."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
My son has been fascinated with this book. He understands so much more than I gave him credit for. He's only 2.5 years old, but he's EXTREMELY verbal and very bright when it comes to books. However, I agree with the english teacher/mommy that it is NOT for the average toddler. I think a bright preschooler or for the child who is fascinated with plants and flowers, it is quite appropriate. I can see an OLDER child in first, second or third grade getting more out of it science wise, but that doesn't mean that a toddler can't enjoy it. I remember reading books and understanding more and more of the details as I got older, which made it a "new" book for me with each passing year, if that makes sense. I re-discovered the story or read it in a new way with more life experience with which to process it. So with that in mind, I think it's a terrific book overall. I do not find it at all disturbing that a seed should drown or burn up. It's a fact of life that seeds don't all survive. If you think of it in terms of humans, sure it's disturbing, but I think that's a paralell that cannot and will not be drawn by a toddler, preschooler or even a young elementary school child. In my view, the English teacher is reading too much into that and reading the book from the viewpoint of an adult with a whole lot more life experience. HOWEVER, I totally agree that the book ends abruptly, which is why I add my own ending when I read it to my child which goes something like this, "and off the seeds sail in the wind to hopefully become beautiful plants and flowers NEXT spring. The end." I'm kind of surprised nobody told Eric Carle or his publisher that the ending was too abrupt. But it's not a big deal. Eric Carle's biggest hits with my son have been "Head to Toe", "The Very Hungry Catepillar," and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," as well as this title. The rest have been a flop. Luckily we check them out at the library and do a test run on them first. :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The tiny seed is about a small seed who starts with other seeds on a journey from a flower to it's very own spot. The story tells of how the seed moves and why it can't land in different places. The story also tells about the other plants by it and how it is so small and can't be seen therfore it will not be killed by different things,animals,people,and so forth. Now the tiny seed stands taller than trees it is finally bigger than the rest and get some recognition. This book finds ways to make learning fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
I've purchased several Eric Carle books over the last few years with my older son who is currently 3.5 years old. We like the artwork and the usually positive messages.

This book doesn't disappoint in the artwork, although I wish the tiny seed had been more obvious somehow from the rest. And this book does ultimately have a positive message that even a tiny seed can grow into the biggest flower of all. But it gets to this message in a weird way- sort of a survival of the fittest but this fit seed stays on a middle path. For example, it doesn't fly too high because the seed that did caught fire (Icarus reference by the way, right?). Or the one that flew in the wind too low near the water which drowned. So I'm not sure about this- I want my son to try to fly high and to take chances. And although I want him to do this within reason, I'm not sure a younger child can pick up on this subtle lesson. I'm even conflicted about this and not sure it was the intended message. (By the way, it says Age 2 and up on the description for this item)

But what bothers me more is the use of strong, intense words for the fate of the other seeds. One is said to die, another drowns, another catches fire. My son is very sensitive to emotions and feelings. He picked up early on this as what I believe is part of his own nature. And he recently learned the word "kill" from a trip to grandma's house (she didn't know the difference between Nickelodeon and Nick Jr!) and somewhere else about death (I think it is from the goldfish he buried at another trip to grandma's house! Don't worry they love him and just forgot what kids are like since he is their first grandchild, but they are remembering!). So the fate of these seeds was a little intense. Although I did explain why it caught fire, I've so far chosen not to use the drowned word or the died word. I say something like they cannot grow (which is language from another part of the book too).

The end of the story is positive as the tiny seed that became the biggest more beautiful flower now sheds its seeds into the wind continuing the cycle of life. Of course, my son's first reaction was sadness that the flower lost its petals. So we talked about this and it was a good discussion about how life and nature is a cycle.

So overall, I believe this book means to send positive messages. But it may lead to some discussion and initial confusion in a child who is sensitive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of a group of flower seeds, blowing into the air in Autumn, with one tiny seed among them. As they journey through many dangerous places, different seeds succumb to death before finding a place to take root: one flies too close to the sun and is burned up, one lands on an icy mountain too cold to germinate it; another lands in the ocean, and so on, but the tiny seed moves on with the remaining seeds. As they begin to fall to the fertile earth, a bird eats one. During the winter a mouse eats another, but still the tiny seed survives. Another seed, on sprouting, is stunted by the proximity a great weed, and another is picked by a child just when it blooms. Finally only the smallest seed is left, and it sprouts to become the greatest of flowers, which lives through the summer and sheds its own seeds in Autumn.

Readers who have experienced The Carrot Seed in their early reading will anticipate the future of this tiny seed, against all the obstacles arrayed against it. And families that have heard Jesus' Parable of the Seeds will recognize in this book a full-fledged dramatization of the same principle Jesus illustrated. In this story children will learn about the life cycle of a flower, see the least of a family become the greatest of flowers, and will experience Carl's distinctively beautiful collage-style of art. This is a wonderful book on every level.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
We read books by the dozens with our preschooler. We've enjoyed many of Eric Carle's classic titles (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear) but this one is awful. It's highly inaccurate, from the empirical standpoint, and has nothing to do with how a seed germinates. Beyond that, it's horrendous. The other seeds suffer horrible deaths until only this one is left - it's more like Stephen King's The Long Walk than a preschooler book. 1984 is more cheerful.

Carle has diluted his brand in a really awful fashion in recent years. Now he's jumped the shark.
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on September 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My daughter checked this book out from the library and we have read it over and over. (she chose the book herself.) I think it is actually pretty accurate yet metaphorical, and honestly, she understands the deeper meaning of the story. We do a lot of gardening and nature exploring and she knows that most seeds don't germinate, things fade and fall apart and become new things. She really likes the seasons and cycles of life aspects as well.

Personally, I like that the "first" and the "best" don't win-- that the small persistent seed who is the most resourceful survives and outshines the bigger badder seeds and plants (this could also be because my child and I were always the smallest kids in the class and I was the last picked for the teams at recess, etc... But I grew up to be successful, happy and active, as had a lot of my "nerdier" friends)

I think kids do not need to be shielded from life as some of the other reviewers said . Death and change are parts of life they are starting to be exposed to at this age-- their grandparents are aging, and many of them eill have pets pass on. Also, at this time they will start to enter school and will have to make that big transition. Learning about the cycles of life thru a beautiful story is a good way to introduce these topics for discussion. I also do not think it is a violent book-- the seed gets eaten by a bird-- it isn't attacked by zombies or is shot by an invading alien army like 5 and 6 year olds seen in movies and video games...
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