Jody’s Beans

Jody's Beans
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In Jody's Beans preschoolers can identify with a young girl, who learns from her grandfather how to plant and care for beans. This book is a great gift, especially from a grandparent alongside a packet of seeds. Best for ages 3-7.

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The boys and I have been planting seeds. It’s our first year having a glasshouse, so it seems wise to make the most of this and grow our own seedlings for the garden. Well, mostly our own, to be fair my awesome mother-in-law came to visit this last weekend and brought lots of seedlings. Including a wonderful quantity of strawberry plants. The Young Engineer particularly enjoyed my cheap version of a certain supermarket’s current promotion. We got a small bag of Jiffy pots, poured water all over them and planted pumpkin, broccoli and lettuce seeds. Will be interesting to see how many of these germinate, Action Man decided to join in at the point we got to the tiny lettuce seeds so the spreading of these was fairly generous.

Taking the theme back inside, I searched our shelves for planting focused books. We have three; A Seed is Sleepy, A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds and our current favourite, Jody’s Beans.

Jody’s Beans is a book about a wee girl somewhere between 3-6 years, so perfect for kids of this age. Her Grandfather comes to visit and he brings some bean seeds to plant. They count them out then carefully plant them. Her grandfather heads home and Jody keeps watching and watering them. With regular phone calls to her grandfather, it’s a lovely family book. The seasons change in the pictures and the beans are ready to harvest and eat. And they save some seed for the following season. We tried to save some bean seed from last Autumn, but it rotted so will have to upskill on my seed saving skills. Any tips?

There are several lovely things about this story, one is the way Jody is involved in the garden in a normal kid friendly way, which helped me understand how my boys would be able to take on these tasks. Although it doesn’t mention how often her mother had to remind her to water them.

Also watching the seasons change in the illustrations is a beautiful way to demonstrate the passing of time. The other really lovely fact is that without the text mentioning it at all, the pictures show Jody’s mother developing and growing in her pregnancy and at the very end of August when Granda comes to visit again to help with the final beans, a wee baby is shown in the arms of its parents. As a Mum I find this side story lovely, grandparents come to visit at the birth of a new baby. But to the preschooler the visit is about her Granda and the job they have in growing beans. Somehow very true to life.

I think this would be a lovely gift book to give to a child along with a packet of seeds. One factor that makes this a good gift is price. It’s a small paperback, but that means the cost is only around the $10NZ mark.

It isn’t a fast moving story, but both the Young Engineer and Action Man will cuddle up and enjoy it as they love seeing real life that they understand.

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