By Author / Illustrator
Caryl Lewis, illus George Ermos
Friends and family
Macmillan Children's Books
Paperback / softback
Seed is a funny, big-hearted story by award-winner Caryl Lewis about the power of hope and imagination when you believe in the impossible. Perfect for readers of 8-12. Illustrated in black and white throughout by George Ermos.
Marty doesn't have much. Unlike his mum, who has billions of things: newspapers, holey shoes, rusty lawnmowers, broken picture frames - she keeps EVERYTHING! It's hard to leave the house. Marty does his best to look after her and wonders if anything will ever change. But on Marty's birthday, Grandad, with a glint in his eye, gifts Marty a very special seed. Grandad hasn't been this excited since he invented the bum scratcher 2000 or thought he'd brewed wonder fuel from rhubarb leaves! The seed grows bigger and bigger, and launches Grandad, Marty and his best friend Gracie on an impossible, wondrous plan fuelled by love, hopes and dreams.
'Some books are about magic. Some books ARE magic. Seed will cast a spell on you' - Frank Cottrell-Boyce. The heart of Wonder meets the humour of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates. Perfect for fans of Ross Welford, Jenny Pearson and Lisa Thompson.
Marty lives with his mum. His mum lives with her clutter and Marty spends his time trying to keep a small space for himself. A small space where he can think and not feel as if he is drowning under the rubbish that mum piles around the place. His respite comes from being with his grandad on his allotment; only there does he find the space, freedom, calm and order that he craves. School is difficult and Marty avoids the 'new trainer kids' and their nasty comments. He feels trapped and helpless to do or change anything and if mum doesn't get better, then their house could be taken away from them.
There is no room for dreams, no reason to hope, he just survives. And then he meets Gracie. Gracie has big dreams, dreams that she shares with Marty, dreams that seem almost impossible and yet, somehow he believes that she can do it. Grandad has big dreams, wild and crazy dreams and they all begin with the special seed that he gifts Marty to grow and nurture. And slowly, as the seed begins to stretch out its roots and unfurl its leaves, so the seeds of hope grow in Marty, too. And with hope comes belief, and with belief comes an adventure, an adventure so utterly marvellous and magical that changes the lives of everyone it touches.
Caryl Lewis has created a warm and fuzzy tale that sets roots in your heart and sends shoots or wonderment through your body. Her focus on family and the debilitating problems of hoarding, the impact mental illness has on those around them, the problems of fitting in and the need to always have hopes and dreams fertilise this magical story.
Curriculum links: family, wellbeing, mental health, bullying, belonging, hearing impairment, hope, perseverance and friendship.
288 pages / Reviewed by Donna Burkert, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
This has got to be one of the best books I've read in ages! Seed by Caryl Lewis has everything; family, friendship, laughter, tears, mystery and adventure; an absolutely brilliant read for a confident reader and a fabulous story to listen to if your reading is not quite at this level, yet! Publisher Macmillan claims, 'Seed is where the heart in Wonder meets the humour of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates', and having read and thoroughly enjoyed both of these books, I knew it had a lot to live up to.
Marty doesn't have a lot, he's not one of the 'new trainer kids' at school who make his life miserable. He doesn't have any real friends and so spends most of his time alone or with his Grandad on his allotment. So when Marty meets Gracie, a girl from his school, they soon realise that they are both 'outsiders'; neither fitting in with the 'in-crowd' at school and both left largely to their own devises at home. This rather unusual friendship gradually evolves and allows the two children to find their way.
When Marty's Grandad gives him a special seed for his birthday he can't help but wonder what on earth his Grandad is up to. Grandad always has crazy ideas and plans but for some reason, unknown to Marty, he is particularly excited about this seed. Now at this point you might be thinking that this book is a modern day version of Jack and the Beanstalk; however, that is most certainly not the case. While the seed does seem to grow unusually fast, it manages to weave its way through tails of family, hardship and difficulty, unusual friendships and the excitement of dreams and longing.
A brilliantly written story, illustrated by George Ermos, Seed is a must have for every KS2 classroom.
** Worth highlighting the potential for links with teaching about hearing loss and difficulties. Gracie wears a cochlear implant to help her hear and the book sensitively addresses how the implant works and how Gracie can 'feel' the vibrations of sound without it.
288 pages / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
'This was the first book in ages that I read from cover to cover in only a few days. I really couldn't put it down. I really liked the main character, Marty, because he is unsure of quite a few things - just like me! I wished things were different for Marty and his dad, but Marty seems happy enough which is good.' J aged 10
'I hadn't read a book with a deaf person as one of the main characters before and it made me think about lots of things I just take for granted. I love Gracie's courage - she goes for her goals and I wish I was a little bit more like her.' C aged 10
This story has so many elements included and reminds me of so many other great stories: Skellig, Jack and the beanstalk and Grandpa Frank's Great Bucket List. The children were engrossed, even taking the books outside at playtimes. Always a good sign that there's a great story between the covers!
288 pages / Reviewed by Sharon Porter, teacher, and her class
Suggested Reading Age 9+