Bad Seed
by John, Jory; Oswald, Pete (ILT)

A naughty seed with a bad attitude, bad temper, and bad manners vows to change his life for the better, but his efforts are met with skepticism by his friends.

"I'm a bad seed," this titular antihero proclaims, his angry eyes taking up the majority of the page. "A baaaaaaaaaaad seed." Brow firmly furrowed, the little but fierce sunflower seed marches through the city streets while a variety of other seeds and nuts scamper out of his way, agreeing with him ("There goes a baaaad seed"). What makes him so bad? He lies, he's late, he doesn't listen, he tells boring jokes, and he never puts things back. Of course, he wasn't always like that: like many bad guys, he's got a pretty tragic backstory. But maybe he's done being bad. Maybe he wants to be good again-if he can remember how. The message, though heavy-handed, is well-intentioned, and the watercolor illustrations provide plenty of comic effect. Young readers will enjoy watching the dramatic seed intimidate his nervous neighbors, and might not even realize they're learning a lesson about good behavior in the process. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Sometimes this sunflower seed can be just plain rotten!The book's self-professed scoundrel opens with a warning. "I'm a bad seed. / A baaaaaaaaaaad seed." Even other seeds whisper in agreement: that's one bad seed. What makes this seed so bad? Well, he's always late and lies often. He stares and glares and never listens. He cuts in line all the time and never washes his hands or feet. And he does other horrible things too bad to list. Young readers (and some older ones as well) will chuckle at the list of misdeeds, then perhaps wonder whether they're guilty of such baaaaaaaaaaad behavior themselves, but John aims for more fruitful ground. What makes a seed go bad? A tragic back story provides at least one reason for the badness. When the rogue seed decides "to be happy" by doing good, it's not so hard to cheer for him. Loudly. The change may seem abrupt, although there is a sense that being good takes time. Throughout the story, Oswald's digital, watercolor-infused illustrati ons keep the focus exclusively on the titular bad seed, depicting the world around him hilariously reacting to his misbehavior and using close-ups—sometimes extreme ones—for comical effect. Small moments of goodness appear that much more profound as a result. A thoughtful, candid look at self-reflection. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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