Love Grows

HarperCollins. Dec. 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063237742.
K-Gr 3–Spiro’s (Made by Maxine) new picture book is about the love between a niece and her aunt, told through a year’s worth of letters and gifts. The letters are told in rhyme and include feelings of familial love and plant care tips, as each letter is accompanied by a plant. The plants come with an interesting fact or name that will appeal to children. The spider plant is named Spider and sent as a friend for Pothos, her first plant (which has heart shaped leaves). The appearance of the Monstera plant is linked to a favorite food of kids (cheese), and the fern, which comes just in time for Halloween, segues into another topic kids love: dinosaurs. The white gift tags that appear on each page supplement the plant information contained on the front and end pages of the story. A through line of coziness and continuity is conveyed by the interactions with the main character and her pet dog. They each seem to be enjoying the plant gifts, and in a safe way, because the little girl teaches her dog not to eat or touch the plants that may harm an animal. The author also includes a note at the beginning of the book about handling plants safely.
VERDICT Kids are going to ask for plants to tend to after this book; pair it in the classroom with real plants and more straightforward nonfiction guides.

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