The Bad Seed
The Bad Seed

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Annotation: This charming picture book examines what happens when a bad seed--rude, mischievous, and irritable--decides that he wants to be...happy.
Catalog Number: #147207
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: Oswald, Pete,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-246776-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-98890-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-246776-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-98890-3
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
"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 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.
Kirkus 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 illustrations 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)
Publishers Weekly
A sunflower seed is certain that he-s -baaaaaaaaaaad,- and his grim scowl, shown in frightening close-up, certainly seems to indicate incorrigibility. But as the seed catalogues his wickedness (-I-m late to everything.... I lie about pointless stuff. I cut in line. Every time-), it becomes clear that his problem is actually impulsiveness and thoughtlessness-the kind of misbehavior that children struggle with daily. John (Penguin Problems) gives the seed a sympathetic backstory (packaged as a snack food, he barely escaped being eaten) that, along with his eventual determination to change his stripes, should keep readers engaged, even if the turning point is abrupt and the text gets a little Dr. Phil (-I-m ready to be happy.... I-m taking it one day at a time-). Working in digitized watercolors, Oswald (Mingo the Flamingo) makes this antihero-s angst vivid and touching, and the world the seed moves in-a metropolis populated by seeds that include peanuts, coconuts, and corn kernels-adds a playful counterpoint of background detail and comedy. Ages 4-8. Author-s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator-s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Aug.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2Corn kernels, pistachios, peanuts, and other seeds gasp and point as a "baaaaaaaaaaad seed" goes by. When others mumble about him, he can hear them because he has "good hearing for a seed." The bad seed tells "long jokes with no punch lines," lies "about pointless stuff," and never puts things back where they belong. But he did not start out that way; it was only after a traumatic experience that he became "a different seed entirely." Through a mixture of watercolor textures and digital paint, Oswald creates a faded cityscape background. The seeds, on the other hand, have stronger colors and expressive faces. (Their sticklike arms and legs and large eyes make them reminiscent of the California Raisins.) The contrast between the bright, sunlit field and the dark interior of a sunflower seed bag highlights the protagonist's downturn in fortune. Young readers will find the list of all the seed's offenses amusing, and the illustration of the flies and stench surrounding him (he never washes his hands or feet) is sure to elicit laughter. Even the very youngest can follow along as the pictures provide evidence of the seed's bad behavior and the reactions of those around him. This is a story that opens up dialogue about our reactions to life experiences, the consequences of our choices, and the chance to make a change for the better. VERDICT This charmingly illustrated book would be a comical read-aloud and useful for class or family discussions about manners, behavior, and reputation.Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (6/1/17)
ALA Booklist (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 476
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 190573 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:1.3 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q71790
Lexile: AD390L
Guided Reading Level: G

An Amazon Best Children's Book of the Month from the New York Times bestselling author of the Goodnight Already! series

This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know?

He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?

With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.

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