The Seedling that didn’t want to grow

The Seedling that didn’t want to grow
Britta Teckentrup
Prestel

The riches of spring are all around us now so there’s no better time to enjoy Britta Teckentrup’s story of a seedling that grows in its own time eventually flourishing into a wonderful plant.

Through her softly spoken text and gorgeous collage-style illustrations we follow along with her characters Ant and Ladybird, the reluctant to germinate seed, as it eventually shows signs of life, growing from a delicate, fragile little seedling in the meadow, and creeping through the undergrowth towards the sun.

Under the watchful supervision of the two insects, together with other friends – Cricket to guard her roots, Mouse to search for the most suitable paths, Butterfly accompanying Ladybird flying above to locate the perfect spot – it gradually changes as it weaves and twines through dense foliage to emerge at last to feel the warmth of the summer sun’s rays on her leaves.

The perfect location to continue her life story.

Now in the hot sunshine she is ‘the happiest plant there could be’ as all manner of creatures live in her foliage so she is ‘full of love and life.’

With the coming of autumn and shorter days comes further changes as the plant ‘s leaves turn a golden colour, eventually wilting as she sets seed ready for the wind to liberate a host of white fluffy parachutes scattering them far and wide before the winter comes and the plant is ready to die away.

That though isn’t the end, for with the melting of the snow, those seeds will start to flourish as the cycle of life begins anew.

This is one of my favourites to date of Britta’s books: her richly textured, detailed art reflects in her choice of colour palette, the changing seasons; while thanks to her changing depth of focus, we are made truly to appreciate the beauty of the incredibly diverse natural world. We appreciate too that just as diversity is key in the natural world, so it is with humans: each of us is unique and with careful nurturing, can find and fulfil our own path in life.