Poems selected by Fiona Waters. Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon.
Published by Nosy Crow Books, in association with the National Trust, 2018.
I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree is the most beautiful poetry anthology I have ever seen. It is a stunning collection of 366 nature poems, one for every day of the year including leap years. The hardback book has been sumptuously produced with deluxe paper, cloth binding and a ribbon marker – making it a book to treasure.
The glorious full-colour, double page illustrations by Frann Preston-Gannon are what initially take your breath away. Each is a work of art. Stylised and child friendly, while still faithful to nature, they convey the beauty and magnificence of the natural world. Frann perfectly captures the changing seasons – from swirling mists to powder blue skies, from blazing heat to driving rain and snow. There are intricate close ups of a dragonfly’s wings and wider vistas of fields and mountains. Her illustrations skilfully capture the movement of crashing waves and wind-blown branches, and the stillness of a snow-covered landscape.
The poems themselves are drawn from over 400 years of poetry and place modern poems alongside the classics. 185 named poets have works included in the book and there are also anonymous poems and rhymes. I enjoyed both the familiarity of re-reading my half-forgotten childhood favourites and the excitement of discovering new poems.
In fact, it’s the variety that is one of the most wonderful aspects of this anthology. There are poems about mammals, birds, insects, fish, crustaceans, amphibians, flowers and trees. Some are domestic, lots are wild. We discover nature in both countryside and urban settings, on small and grand scales. We are taken from puddles to oceans, and from molehills to mountains. Sometimes we’re burrowing underground, sometimes we’re soaring overhead. The poems encompass gardens, forests, fields and hedgerows, rivers, ponds, lakes and rockpools. They chart the seasonal changes and switch between day and night. There are haikus, kennings and tongue twisters alongside nursery rhymes and verse poems.
I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree is packed full of fabulous accessible poems for you to share with the children in your life. Read one a day, dip in and out, read them aloud or curl up and savour them alone. Then look up, go out and explore the wonders of nature together.
Suitable for children aged 6+
Thank you to Nosy Crow Books for sending me this book to review. I reviewed it as part of the I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree blog tour where publisher Kate Wilson talked to me about her favourite poems. You can read her guest post here.