Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anno's Magic Seeds

Anno's Magic Seeds
Written and illustrated by Mitsumasa Anno
June 1999, Putnam Juvenile
40 pages

Mitsumasa Anno's books are popular at my house. They are math-themed books, yet fun. This title is not only good for teaching math, but the importance of thrift as well as how the commerce of farming came to be (make sure to read the end notes in the book).

In this story, Jack receives two magic seeds from wizard. He is instructed to bake and eat one, and plant the other. The seed he eats satisfies his hunger for an entire year. The planted seed grows into a plant that produces two more seeds.

Year after year, Jack follows the same routine; he bakes and eats one while planting the second. Finally, Jack decides to plant two seeds and forgo eating one, making do without. The year following, Jack has four seeds: one to eat and three to plant. The second year he has six seeds: one to eat and five to plant. How many seeds will he have the third year?

In the sixth year, Jack meets Alice. Jack shares with Alice. In the seventh year, they are married and they share the seeds with the wedding guests. In the eighth year, Jack and Alice have a baby.

Soon Jack begins to warehouse some of the seeds and selling others at market. The equation of the seeds grows more complicated each year.

In the end, the family is hit by a hurricane. Their crop and most of their stored seeds are destroyed. Jack, Alice, and their child begin a new life with their last few seeds, praying to God for a good crop.

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