Age Range: 3 to 6
Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes is a lovely story which shows children what you should and shouldn’t do when you want to grow tomatoes (or any other plants). I have read this story to stimulate discussion about growing and planting before planting tomato seeds with children.
The Story: Neighbours Bear and Bunny decide to grow tomatoes but they take very different approaches. Hard working Bear tends his soil, lovingly plants his seeds and takes care of them. Lazy Bunny throws his seeds into his garden then relaxes and throws a pool party. Bear ends up with a huge crop of tomatoes while Bunny is sure that his tomatoes will be huge once he finds them in the weeds. At the end of the summer Bear and Bunny both have plenty of tomatoes to eat as kind hearted Bear gives some of his tomatoes to Bunny.
The story starts in winter when Bear and Bunny are reading seed catalogues. On the left of the double spread Bear is dreaming about a crop of tomatoes while on the right hand spread Bunny dreams of a huge tomato. The story follows the same layout throughout the book. On the left we see Bear digging, raking, weeding, sowing and watering while on the right Bunny throws his seeds on the ground and spends a lot of time relaxing. Bear continues to weed while Bunny’s weeds take over until he has no idea what is growing. I love the way that even at the end of the summer Bunny remains optimistic and looks forward to finding ‘colossal’ tomatoes in his garden!
Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes amusingly conveys the message that hard work and patience are needed when gardening. The illustrations are bold, bright and full of humorous details. We love the picture of Bunny’s pool party and my daughter finds it funny when Bunny flies over his garden in a hot air balloon to look for his tomatoes in the weeds. The text is easy to read and the short sentences are good for beginner readers.
This is a great book to use in the classroom for topics on growing things and healthy eating. Sequencing cards can be used to help children understand how tomatoes grow and I found some great tomato growing resources for children on foodies.org. Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes mentions the seasons so it could also be included in a topic on time. The story provides a great stimulus for a discussion about how hard work reaps rewards.
An amusing story with two likeable characters which has inspired us to plant our own tomatoes.
Author / Illustrator: Bruce Koscielniak