The Bad Seed (Food Group)

by Jory John (Author) Pete Oswald (Illustrator)

The Bad Seed (Food Group)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Food Group

A New York Times bestseller!

Amazon Prime's Most Read Title of 2019!

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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School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Corn 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

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

★ "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."—School Library Journal (starred review)
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2017
Food Group
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV029000 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | General
Library of Congress categories

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