GROWING SEASON is here, both in our gardens and in this sweet picture book.

Remember back in elementary school when kids became friends over simple reasons? Some kids forged friendships because they packed the same snack in their lunch, wore the same shoes to gym class, scribbled with the same colors of crayons, or were the exact same height.

In today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, I’m sharing a tale of friendship in which two little girls have something BIG in common.

They are the smallest kids in their class.



Title – Growing Season

Written and illustrated by – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Published by- Sterling Children’s Books – 2019

Topics – Friendship, envy, growing flowers

Opening – Best friends El and Jo were the smallest students in the class. Even their names were short.

Synopsis from AmazonEl and Jo are the smallest students in their class—and best friends, too, like peas in a pod. Even their names are short. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed, while El feels smaller every day. On the last day of school, their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer. All the other kids reach over El to grab their plant, and she has to take the very last one: a tiny, flowerless aster. At first, she’s disappointed. But as summer progresses, the aster begins to bloom—and so does El!

Why do I like this book? Growing Season finds its picture book perfection not only by being a sweet story of friendship but through its second layer in which young readers learn about growing flowers and the wait they must endure for late-bloomers to bloom. The comparison between the two friends and the flowers they take home on the last day of school pair perfectly.

Learn more about Maryann Cocca-Leffler HERE.

Children can watch flowers grow from seeds in this video.

Learn how to easily grow a variety of herbs and veggies in this YouTube video.


Which seeds will germinate the fastest for a science fair project? Watch here.

Children can be a little impatient when it comes to growing a garden. This spring or summer, plant radish seeds. They germinate in as little as 4 days and can be picked and eaten in less than one month!


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions visit Susanna Leonard Hills Perfect Picture Books HERE

Until next Friday


16 thoughts on “GROWING SEASON is here, both in our gardens and in this sweet picture book.

  1. Brilliant approach to a timeless issue, when everyone else seems to be leaving you behind, whether it’s new teeth or height. I was always “the littlest” in part because I was nearly a year younger than many of my classmates. Will have to check this one out! Thank you for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great year-end story. You’re right, we did bookend the school year nicely. Both books on friendships and emotions. 🙂 I too love the parallel between the plants and the kids manner of growth. And the illustrations are delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like a very sweet book, Leslie, and gently addresses an important aspect of identity. I had the opposite concern — I felt self-conscious about being one of the taller girls. Brother. It seems this author is working to support children’s appreciation for themselves and their uniqueness. Tanks for the recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always felt intimidated by the tall girls (and boys) in my elementary school days. Keep in mind that I was SERIOUSLY short. Thankfully, I experienced a “growing season” like El does in this book. Now, I’m only a little short. The book is very sweetly written. I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it as much as I do. See you soon!


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