Before the Seed: How Pollen Moves

by Susannah Buhrman-Deever (Author) Matt Curtius (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Discover the intricate process of pollination in a lyrical narrative from a noted biologist, packed with information-rich asides and paired with spectacular botanical illustrations.

We live in a world of green that grows from seeds, but what happens before there are seeds? In a graceful text grounded by riveting science, biologist Susannah Buhrman-Deever explains how whirling winds, buzzy bees, and bustling birds move pollen from flower to flower, answering each plant’s special invitation. Lush botanical illustrations by artist duo Gina Triplett and Matt Curtius bring each tiny detail of the process to life, and the final pages remind us why it’s important to take action to protect our pollinators.

From bees and bats to beetles and hummingbirds, the text covers creatures from all over the world that aid in flower pollination, as well as the sophisticated mechanisms flowering plants have developed in order to reproduce. Back matter includes more information on flower anatomy, how to support local pollinators in your own backyard, and the dangers that global warming poses to pollinator species.

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Publishers Weekly

Buhrman-Deever delves into the world of pollen in this inquiry-based discussion of what happens "before the seed grows the green." Though the text only indirectly defines pollen, an opening question ("How can pollen move?") offers a touchpoint as pages feature the role that wind, water, and various pollinators perform in helping transport the substance. Meanwhile, ample asterisks scattered throughout provide impressive stats ("77,000 beetle species visit flowers") and further information about varied species' innovative aspects--such as how one vine's dish-shaped leaves attract pollinating bats by reflecting sounds for echolocation. Incorporating scans of ink and acrylic paint, Triplett and Curtius's digital artwork features oversize visuals of flora and fauna alike; while some imagery relies on thick-penned outlines and basic coloring, others have an Audubon-esque amount of detail, resulting in a collage-like mash-up. As further queries prompt examination of how plants ensure their pollen doesn't go to waste, a "moving" scientific portrayal of interdependence emerges. Includes an author's note and bibliography. Ages 7-9. (Mar.)

Copyright 2024 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Susannah Buhrman-Deever
Susannah Buhrman-Deever is a trained biologist with a PhD in behavioral biology who specializes in animal behavior and ecology. She is the author of Predator and Prey, illustrated by Bert Kitchen, and If You Take Away the Otter, illustrated by Matthew Trueman, a Bank Street College Cook Prize Honor Book. In addition to her writing and academic work, she also developed ecology curricula for the Lion Conservation Fund. Susannah Buhrman-Deever lives with her husband and sons in New York, where she enjoys hiking through forests, paddling on the water, and puttering in her garden.

Gina Triplett and Matt Curtius are a wife-and-husband artistic team who have shared a collaborative studio in Philadelphia for more than ten years. They have worked on projects ranging from public art to advertising to print books for children and adults. Gina Triplett has exhibited throughout the US and abroad. Matt Curtius is an associate professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Mit Kids Press
Publication date
March 20, 2024
BISAC categories
JNF003120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Insects, Spiders, etc.
JNF051040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Astronomy
JNF051140 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Physics
Library of Congress categories

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