What’s an underground community to do when a perniciously invasive root snakes its way through everyone’s routes and roofs? That’s the setup for award-winning author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc’s latest, a whimsical picture book for ages 3-7, And Then the Seed Grew. Filled with fun details–a blue piano in the corner of one room, a yellow rubber ducky on the floor in another, polka dots abounding, and more–Dubuc’s charming cross-section illustrations show a cut-out of life above and below the ground, creating a gentle eco-morality tale.
As one might imagine, the root continues to grow. Fuss, bother, and dislocations ensue. Eventually things come to a head:
“Everyone was fed up. Underground and aboveground, the plant was wreaking havoc all through the garden. Yvonne’s bathroom was permanently out of order, Mr. Gnome was trapped in his house, the ants were detour-dizzy and the poor field mice had to move yet again. Something had to be done!“
Armed with a saw and garden tools, the outraged underground residents resolve to chop down the plant that seems to have destroyed their previously peaceful lives. But then something happens…
Does the dastardly plant live to grow another inch, or does it get turned into mulch? And what kind of plant is it, actually? Read the rest of this sweet tale to find out how the environmental conflict gets resolved.
While no translator is credited beyond the publisher itself, with a little digging, I discovered that Kids Can Press Editorial Director, Yvette Ghione, did the lovely translation.
And Then the Seed Grew is my first introduction to Canadian author Dubuc’s wonderfully imaginative world, which also includes Lucy and Company, The Animal’s Ark, and the Mr. Postmouse books. (Yes! Another series with a mouse protagonist!) Clearly I’ve been living under a rock–or perhaps underground–to have missed seeing her marvelous work until now, and I can’t wait to investigate more of it.
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
Translated from the French by Yvette Ghione
2019, Kids Can Press
Award-winning opera singer Nanette McGuinness is the translator of over 50 books and graphic novels for children and adults from French, Italian, and German into English, including the well-known Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels. Two of her latest translations, Luisa: Now and Then (Humanoids, 2018) and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas (First Second, 2017) were chosen for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Her most recent translations are Little Josephine: Memory in Pieces (Life Drawn, 2020), Super Sisters (Papercutz, 2020), and Undead Messiah #3 (TOKYPOP, 2020).