A Packet of Seeds by Deborah Hopkinson. il by Bethanne Andersen.
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins: NY, 2004.

As a family readies for their long trek to pioneer territory, the mother's sister and friends gift her with flower seeds from their gardens. She is heart-broken to be leaving them behind. The father is eager to work his new land on the prairie. The household work falls to the kids and neighbor women, as the mom is too depressed to continue when the next baby comes along. The oldest girl, Annie, sees a way to lift her mom's spirits. Annie gets her brother to help her dig a garden outside her mom's window.

The pictures are colorful and appealing. I know that is what drew me to the book to begin with. I first read the book when it was new. It had a poignancy that touched me. Added to that is that the subject matter (pioneering) feels a little like our move to Maine. When we moved here, we also moved out into the country. I felt like a pioneer. Our neighbors are not near us, and it took a while to get to know any of them. At the time, we spent much of our time on our property. We homeschool and garden and wander in the woods. My kids were not involved in activities yet. I felt separate from the world, especially on snowy days with the hard work of shoveling.

I still feel like it is a lovely book. We come into the city enough to no longer feel like pioneers, though we still have practices that much of our society no longer does itself (ex. growing food, cutting wood for heating, baking bread, quilting).

related-frontier and pioneer life, homesickness, gardens, babies
RL=K-1st, read aloud to toddlers-K

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