Richards, Jean. A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds. Illustrated by Anca Hariton. Milbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761316221. $21.90. 32pp. Reviewer: Sandra L. Tidwell Reading Level: Preschool, Primary Rating: Excellent Genre: Picture Book; Nonfiction; Subject: Fruit Dispersal Juvenile literature; Seeds Juvenile literature; Book Reviews; Richards explains that just as a suitcase is a container that protects your belongings when you travel from place to place, a fruit protects its seeds as they are dispersed by animals, wind, and water. She pictures and explains examples of all sizes and shapes of fruit and their seeds, and covers basic concepts such as “Many berries, such as strawberries and blackberries, carry their seeds on the outside,” and what part of each fruit is the seed. Richards ends the book with answers to common questions about fruits, including “What is the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?” and “Why don't seeds grow in your tummy?” She also explains a few simple seed growing experiences. The book is illustrated by watercolor illustrations by Hariton, who has added an extra touch to carry the book's theme forward: a continuous stream of human silhouettes carrying or pulling suitcases of various sizes and shapes that appear at the bottom of each page. The idea of a fruit being a suitcase for seeds is an intriguing one and this fresh approach to a science topic works very well. The watercolor illustrations go right along with the text and have just the right amount of detail.
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