The biology of plants, seeds, and pollination is expertly and beautifully explained in Polly W. Cheney’s picture book Sip, Pick, and Pack… How Pollinators Help Plants Make Seeds.
Most children understand that plants make seeds that grow into new plants, and that bees and other creatures are somehow helpful to the process. But here, the step-by-step workings are revealed by Cheney, alongside Kim Overton’s handsome and information-packed color illustrations. The book’s title refers to the process of pollination, perfectly distilled in rhyme by Cheney: “Some bees will pick pollen to make a bee bread./ Other pollinators will sip the plant nectar instead./ But both pickers and sippers help plant pollen scatter,/ So flowers get pollen packed right where it matters.”
With the benefit of Overton’s labeled illustrations, Cheney continues by explaining fertilization, in a much more memorable and exciting way than most beginner’s science textbooks. Even those who know the basics may find new information here: a list of some of the lesser-known pollinators, for example, which include geckos, bats, and lemurs. At book’s end, there’s a glossary, bibliography, and a fun facts section that lists, among other things, the many types of crops that need or benefit from pollinators.
Sip, Pick, and Pack… is an excellent example of a book that pairs words and graphics to become more efficient and enjoyable than either could be on its own; Cheney’s rhyming text is playful yet informative, and Overton’s vibrant art captures the many hues of nature while supporting the explanations. The book also serves as that ideal science book that answers the questions many kids harbor, even as they memorize the parts of a flower, as required in many schools.
Written with an eye toward grades three through six, Sip, Pick, and Pack… merits a place in public and school libraries everywhere.