Reviews for The bad seed

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Sometimes this sunflower seed can be just plain rotten!The book's self-professed scoundrel opens with a warning. "I'm a bad seed. / A baaaaaaaaaaad seed." Even other seeds whisper in agreement: that's one bad seed. What makes this seed so bad? Well, he's always late and lies often. He stares and glares and never listens. He cuts in line all the time and never washes his hands or feet. And he does other horrible things too bad to list. Young readers (and some older ones as well) will chuckle at the list of misdeeds, then perhaps wonder whether they're guilty of such baaaaaaaaaaad behavior themselves, but John aims for more fruitful ground. What makes a seed go bad? A tragic back story provides at least one reason for the badness. When the rogue seed decides "to be happy" by doing good, it's not so hard to cheer for him. Loudly. The change may seem abrupt, although there is a sense that being good takes time. Throughout the story, Oswald's digital, watercolor-infused illustrations keep the focus exclusively on the titular bad seed, depicting the world around him hilariously reacting to his misbehavior and using close-upssometimes extreme onesfor comical effect. Small moments of goodness appear that much more profound as a result. A thoughtful, candid look at self-reflection. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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 PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

I'm a bad seed, this titular antihero proclaims, his angry eyes taking up the majority of the page. A baaaaaaaaaaad seed. Brow firmly furrowed, the little but fierce sunflower seed marches through the city streets while a variety of other seeds and nuts scamper out of his way, agreeing with him (There goes a baaaad seed). What makes him so bad? He lies, he's late, he doesn't listen, he tells boring jokes, and he never puts things back. Of course, he wasn't always like that: like many bad guys, he's got a pretty tragic backstory. But maybe he's done being bad. Maybe he wants to be good again if he can remember how. The message, though heavy-handed, is well-intentioned, and the watercolor illustrations provide plenty of comic effect. Young readers will enjoy watching the dramatic seed intimidate his nervous neighbors, and might not even realize they're learning a lesson about good behavior in the process.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Exaggerated facial expressions (those evil eyebrows!) and clever page turns and perspectives reveal how a lone sunflower seed became a "baaaaaaaaaaad seed" with terrible manners. Detailed digital illustrations convey the other seeds' varied reactions to him. Eventually he realizes he's "ready to be happy" again, and he begins to change his ways. Deadpan wit makes this a great read-aloud. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.