Summer Book Club Week Eight - Miss Maple's Seeds

Summer Book Club Week Eight - Miss Maple's Seeds

"Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small. But never forget even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds."

Hold on, we need to wipe our eyes! With a line like that in a picture book, you can bet it will be a solid favorite of ours at Bella Luna Toys. And as flowers release their seeds and the season shifts, it is a perfect time for us to share our very last (but certainly not least!) edition of our Summer Book Club.

Miss Maple’s Seeds, written and illustrated by the fabulous Eliza Wheeler, epitomizes nurturing, growth, and the tenderness inherent in taking care of the things we love. Through lyrical prose and light as air illustrations, we are swept up into the magical and caring world of Miss Maple who makes her home in an ancient maple tree, finds lost seeds, and teaches them how to grow.

A child sitting crossed legged on a quilt with a kitten in their lap, holding the book Miss Maple's Seeds open to read

Miss Maple begins her journey in summer to gather those wayward seeds that “got lost during spring planting” and then takes care of them throughout the fall by bringing them on field trips to learn about different growing environments and soil, giving them baths, and reading them stories by “firefly light.” Throughout these lessons, she reminds them to “take care, my little ones… for the world is big and you are small.”

As Miss Maple tends her seeds, she learns each one by heart, “all similar, yet none the same,” and warns them to stay clear of “weedy characters,” as they head out into the world beyond her warm and safe tree. Finally, after a long winter of stories and songs, spring comes and it is time for Miss Maple to release her beloved seeds into the world, for she has guided them and “now her part of the story must come to an end.”

Be still our hearts! As we know how fleeting our time with our tiny seedlings is, this moving story will make us hold them even closer, doing our best to teach, share the wonder, warn them of the dangers, and ultimately let them go. And as we close this heart expanding and deeply moving book, we can revel in the beauty of the cycles of our earth and the heartening work inherent in tending small things and then releasing them into the wide world.

The picture book Miss Maple's Seeds laying on top of an earthy green playsilk and a blue playsilk. Surrounding the books are small flowers and seeds, a wood and wool felt tree, wooden animals such as bunnies and birds and a felted dollhouse doll dressed in an apron and brown dress

Day One - Read & Discuss

On day one, we read the story together and take our time to discuss the details and what it means to us with our children. 

This story celebrates the wonders of nature with Miss Maple, who collects and cares for seeds before they sprout and teaches them all they need to know before sending them into the world to grow into the beautiful plants she knows they'll become. 

Blonde child reading Miss Maple's Seeds with a small grey kitten in her lap

Discussion Questions:

  • What kinds of seeds have you planted? Have you ever noticed things growing that you didn’t plant like a tiny tree or wildflowers? 
  • Seeds are tiny but they have the potential to grow into something really big. Can you think of  other powerful things that come in small packages? 
  • For a seed to grow, they need certain things like water and good soil. And then it takes a lot of time for them to germinate and become a plant. Have you ever had to wait a long time for something you were really excited about? 
  • Seeds come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are fluffy, some are pokey, some float, and some even have wings. Imagine yourself as a seed. Would you be shiny on the outside? Or squishy? Imagine your family as seeds, would anyone be pokey or prickly? 
  • Seeds can travel far and wide! If the wind carried you like the seeds that Miss Maple collects, where would you want to go? Would you want to float along a river or tuck yourself into a muddy stream bank? Or fly through the mountains? Tell a story about your ‘seedy’ adventures!

Day Two - Write & Draw

Today we revisit the story through art and discussion. It is alright if your child(ren) do not want to draw or write following the prompt, though. Today is about retelling the story and bringing forth the ideas they held onto from it. If they would rather do that through play or some other activity, let them! We want this book club to be both fun and educational, but fun definitely comes first. 

Today's prompt is to imagine where some of Miss Maple's seeds will land. Will they "take root in nearby gardens" or "travel on distant winds and faraway tides?" Draw a map showing the path the seeds travel on and where they land. You could even draw two different maps, with one of the path the seeds take, and the other showing where they land and the flowers, plants, and trees they grow into. 

An overhead view of the picture book Miss Maples Seeds opened, sitting with a piece of drawing paper, a wooden bowl with lyra ferby colored pencils and beeswax crayons in a wooden holder

Eliza Wheeler also created a few wonderful printable activity sheets and provided them free of charge on her website. These make an excellent extension of today's activities, or a way to involve younger children. There are coloring sheets, an illustration of Miss Maple's tree house to fill in with furniture and visitors, and a seed facts sheet with fascinating details about seeds as well as illustrations to color. 

Download Miss Maple's Seeds Activity Sheets here

Day Three - Craft or Activity

To wrap up our last day of Book Club, we will plant seeds in a jar and observe them take root and sprout. Wheatgrass seeds are wonderful for this activity because they sprout and grow very quickly (about 3-5 days) but there are so many seeds you can use. 

Two children sit at a table planting seeds into a recycled egg carton and a mason glass jar

Collect your seeds, a bit of soil, a jar of water, and a small, clean, glass jar. If you would prefer to plant your seeds elsewhere that is perfectly fine, too! We planted some in the jar so we could watch the roots grow, and also planted some in a Bella Luna Toys wooden egg carton. If using wheatgrass seeds, soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes before planting. Loosely fill the bottom of your jar with planting soil. Once your seeds have soaked, have your children plant them in the soil, gently placing them on top and covering with a light layer of soil. Keep the soil damp, but not soaked with puddles while the seeds begin to sprout. Once they have shoots growing you can lessen the water bit by bit. 

A windowsill with a small glass jar with wheatgrass growing in it

As the days go by, watch the process of how your seeds grow through the jar. You'll first begin to see small shoots coming out of the seed. Shoots of roots, and then shortly after, shoots of the plant. If you are growing wheatgrass, the plants will grow quickly, while the roots spread out amongst the soil. You can now take your plant out of the jar and plant it in the ground if you wish to grow it further. Or look up all the uses for wheatgrass, there are many!

 It has been lovely to share some of our favorite stories with you, both old and new alike! We hope you and your family have enjoyed our Summer Book Club, and look forward to seeing you again next year! Share all of your book club activities with us on Instagram @bellalunatoys and use the hashtag #bellalunatoys for a chance to be featured on our feed or stories. If you've missed any of the book club, you can find all the activities both on the blog and in our Book Club Highlight. Keep reading, keep playing, and enjoy the rest of your summer days!

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