CM March 8, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 12

image Ready, Set, Grow!
with the Earth Buddies.

Debora Pearson.
Toronto: Somerville House Publishing, 1995. 48pp, paper, $12.95.
ISBN: 1-895897-56-4.

Grades 1 - 5 / Ages 6 - 10.
Review by Peter Ross Croskery.


Ready, Set, Grow with the Earth Buddies is sold as a package that includes an instruction book and two "Earth Buddies."


The Earth Buddies are round balls made from nylon stocking and filled with sawdust and grass seeds. Each has a happy face painted on for fun. By following the "watering instructions" contained within the book, the Earth Buddies will grow grass so they will seem to have green hair. Given the popularity of Chia Pets, the Earth Buddies aren't a completely novel concept, but the ideas within the instruction book make this package attractive.

Written by Debora Pearson, the former editor of Chickadee magazine and author of numerous other interactive environmental materials, this package has excellent educational value. Jane Kurisu's illustrations complement the text and subtly illustrate many of the book's experiments.

Besides instructions on how to grow hair on your Earth Buddy, the book outlines several other simple experiments or activities kids can do. The experiments will teach children a lot about plants -- the importance of water, the effect of acid rain, how seeds grow, how plants turn towards the sun, and so on. Perhaps the nicest feature of the instruction book is that it includes instructions on how to make your own Earth Buddies.


For each experiment, the instructions ("What to Do") and the materials needed and instructions are clearly presented. The final section of each experiment explains "What Happens" if children carefully follow the instructions. And if each activity is done in sequence, children will gain a clear understanding of the magical transformation of a seed to a plant.

Using materials commonly available in every home, the Earth Buddies package is a powerful learning tool. The experiments do not require an outdoor setting so kids can learn how plants grow during winter in preparation for establishing their own outdoors garden this summer.

I've given this package an age rating of six to nine, but younger children, with the help of an adult, could also find this package a fun activity.


Peter Ross Croskery is an Environmental Communications Specialist living in Grimsby, Ontario.

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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364