The Bad Seed

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From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—Corn kernels, pistachios, peanuts, and other seeds gasp and point as a “baaaaaaaaaaad seed” goes by. When others mumble about him, he can hear them because he has “good hearing for a seed.” The bad seed tells “long jokes with no punch lines,” lies “about pointless stuff,” and never puts things back where they belong. But he did not start out that way; it was only after a traumatic experience that he became “a different seed entirely.” Through a mixture of watercolor textures and digital paint, Oswald creates a faded cityscape background. The seeds, on the other hand, have stronger colors and expressive faces. (Their sticklike arms and legs and large eyes make them reminiscent of the California Raisins.) The contrast between the bright, sunlit field and the dark interior of a sunflower seed bag highlights the protagonist’s downturn in fortune. Young readers will find the list of all the seed’s offenses amusing, and the illustration of the flies and stench surrounding him (he never washes his hands or feet) is sure to elicit laughter. Even the very youngest can follow along as the pictures provide evidence of the seed’s bad behavior and the reactions of those around him. This is a story that opens up dialogue about our reactions to life experiences, the consequences of our choices, and the chance to make a change for the better. VERDICT This charmingly illustrated book would be a comical read-aloud and useful for class or family discussions about manners, behavior, and reputation.—Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN

Review

“The BEST read-aloud book of the year…Seriously.” (Mel Schuit, Let’s Talk Picture Books (blog))

“This is kid-book humor at its best, both warmhearted and frisky—the kind that leaves adults, too, cracking up and grateful.” (New York Times Book Review)

★ “This is a story that opens up dialogue about our reactions to life experiences, the consequences of our choices, and the chance to make a change for the better.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

★ “This charmingly illustrated book would be a comical read-aloud and useful for class or family discussions about manners, behavior, and reputation.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

★ “Young readers will find the list of all the seed’s offenses amusing, and the illustration of the flies and stench surrounding him (he never washes his hands or feet) is sure to elicit laughter.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

★ “Even the very youngest can follow along as the pictures provide evidence of the seed’s bad behavior and the reactions of those around him.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“John gives the seed a sympathetic backstory (packaged as a snack food, he barely escaped being eaten) that, along with his eventual determination to change his stripes, should keep readers engaged.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Working in digitized watercolors, Oswald makes this antihero’s angst vivid and touching, and the world the seed moves in—a metropolis populated by seeds that include peanuts, coconuts, and corn kernels—adds a playful counterpoint of background detail and comedy.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The watercolor illustrations provide plenty of comic effect.” (Booklist)

“Young readers will enjoy watching the dramatic seed intimidate his nervous neighbors, and might not even realize they’re learning a lesson about good behavior in the process.” (Booklist)

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Specification: The Bad Seed

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Hardcover

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Children's Manners Books

Children's Emotions Books

Children's Nature Books (Books)

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