Grow Your Own - Story Snug

Grow Your Own by Esther Hall

With the warmer weather our thoughts have turned to growing and planting fruit and vegetables. Grow Your Own ‘A yummy story about growing (and eating!) your own food’ is a great story for initiating discussion about how fruit and vegetables grow.

The Story: Sidney Bean lives with his mum in the city and eats ready meals. One summer he goes to stay with Granny in the country and helps in her garden. He learns about growing broccoli, carrots, runner beans and strawberries and eats a variety of fruit and vegetables. Sidney and Granny have such a successful summer that they set up a stall to sell their surplus products. At the end of the summer Granny packs fruit and vegetables into boxes and Mum arrives to pick Sidney up in her new delivery van, she’s changed her job so she can deliver Granny’s fruit and vegetables in the city and help Granny in the garden at the weekend.

I always find it interesting talking to children about where their food comes from, some fruit and vegetables are so familiar to them but often they have no idea how or where they grow. Grow Your Own introduces garden vocabulary e.g. manure, soil, weeding, feeding and shows a variety of fruit and vegetables. Granny’s meals include her homegrown fruit and vegetables and Sidney tries them all (although at the end he still doesn’t like mushrooms!). Children can also identify fruit and vegetables that aren’t mentioned in the text but are shown in the illustrations.

Esther Hall uses earthy colours for the illustrations. The first three pages introduce the city and are grey and colourless in comparison with the more vibrant colours used for the country. The different uses of colour and the fact that Sidney eats ready meals when he is in the city stimulated a discussion with my daughter about how you can still grow fruit and vegetables in pots on balconies or in window boxes if you live in the city and/or haven’t got a garden. We grow carrots and tomatoes in pots, we’ve had more success than when we’ve planted them in the garden.

I used Grow Your Own to introduce a planting session with a group of three to five year olds. Before I read the story we looked at and named a selection of fruit and vegetables and talked about whether they grew under the ground, on a bush or on a tree. I was surprised that although an onion was a familiar vegetable to the children none of them knew what it was called.

Then we read the story and identified the fruit and vegetables that Sidney and Granny grew. Finally we planted a bean and some cress. Both should grow quite quickly, we just need to learn to have patience!

Growing cress and beans Story Snug

Age Range: 3 +

Author / Illustrator: Esther Hall

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22 responses to “Grow Your Own by Esther Hall”

  1. Iona@Redpeffer avatar

    Oh, I would love my children to take part in a lesson like this. I think it’s a wonderful way to explore and you’re right, so many children don’t get exposed to where their food comes from that they need encouragement and confidence to try growing for themselves. #thethemegame

    1. Catherine avatar

      It was really interesting to hear where they thought particular fruit and vegetables grew. I learnt something too, I didn’t know how an avocado grew before I did this activity!

  2. Lystra Maisey avatar

    Hello there, wow I love your blog and I love this post, I am going to try this with my little boy. We have just started getting him to plant vegetables and apparently it’s his garden now! He has just turned three but has all the equipment a small boy needs to get growing. Thanks so much for this, looking forward to reading more xxx

    1. Catherine avatar

      Hi Lystra, thank you for the blog compliment and thank you for visiting Story Snug 🙂 I hope you and your son have lots of fun in the garden this year.

  3. Single Mother Ahoy avatar

    Love this! I worry about my daughter not making the connection between her food and where it comes from, as we live in a first floor flat with no garden.
    I love the idea of using the story to then go on and plant seeds!
    Thanks for linking up #WeekendBlogHop

    1. Catherine avatar

      Could you plant seeds and then give the seedlings to family or friends to plant in their gardens? Maybe your daughter could visit and see how they grow.

  4. My Life As A Mummy avatar
    My Life As A Mummy

    What a brilliant way to teach children about where their food comes from. We have planted our own strawberry seeds and Cameron is very impressed that they have sprouted.

    Thanks for linking up to the #WeekendBlogHop

    Laura x x x

    1. Catherine avatar

      Good luck with your strawberries. I always buy plants, I’ve never thought about planting seeds 🙂

  5. Mummy Says avatar

    How lovely! I think I might have to look for this. We are planning on doing some planting with our toddler, and you’ve inspired me to get a move on with it! x

    1. Catherine avatar

      Good luck with the planting and have fun 🙂

  6. chantelle hazelden avatar

    This sounds very interesting, a great way of learning but keeping it fun #weekendbloghop x

    1. Catherine avatar

      The interesting thing about growing fruit and vegetables is that some years you can be more successful than others, also a useful lesson to learn 🙂

  7. Polly avatar

    what a good book! We grow lots of our own veg, the kiddos love helping me!

    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a great book to develop children’s awareness of how fruit and vegetables grow and what conditions they need.

  8. Kelly Finn avatar

    Wow, this sounds like a great story! I too think that children are more interested in food when they know where it’s come from. Also being involved in the growing stage as it’s fun. Fun food tastes great, that’s a fact 🙂 #weekendbloghop

    1. Catherine avatar

      I think it’s important that children know where their food comes from. My daughter loves going out to pick her tomatoes from the plant and she finds our misshapen carrots hilarious 🙂

  9. Ciara@ourlittlehouseinthecountry avatar

    This sounds like a great story. We’ve spent the last week trying to get our garden ready for planting after the winter. Heading out shortly to pick up seeds and more plants. Last year we had lots of carrots and pumpkins so my children are very eager to get planting again! Thanks for sharing, popping over from My Life as a Mummy Weekend Blog Hop! Have a great weekend!

    1. Catherine avatar

      We planted pumpkins last year too and were very surprised at how enormous they got! So far this year we’ve planted carrots and tomatoes. We’ve also planted blueberry and raspberry bushes for the first time.

  10. Kirsty avatar

    We love this time of year and have already planted beans and sunflowers in the garden. This would be a fantastic story to read after a day of hard work out in the garden. Thank you for joining in with #kidsbookaweek

    1. Catherine avatar

      We haven’t planted our sunflowers yet, we’ve been too busy with the vegetables! It is a great story to read after a day’s planting 🙂

  11. Barbara Mojica avatar

    Great choice….learning about fruits and vegetables then getting hands dirty!

    1. Catherine avatar

      We’re going to have quite a crop of vegetables this year – beans, carrots and tomatoes 🙂