Miss Maple’s Seeds, by Eliza Wheeler

Miss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler, from ameliesbookshelf.com

On a bright August morning, Miss Maple flies home. She has hurried ahead of the flock to get ready for her guests.

An appropriate beginning, no? Miss Maple is sort of a keeper of lost seeds, orphans who haven’t had a chance to become rooted, to blossom. She tenderly washes them, takes them on tours to grassy fields and thick forests, and tucks them into bed to read them bedtime stories. Image 1The long cold winter finds the seeds cozily holed up with Miss Maple, passing the time with stories and songs until spring comes and Miss Maple teaches the seeds to dance in the rain and burrow into the wet earth. ImageWhen at last it is time, Miss Maple sends her darling seeds out into the wide open, knowing she has guided and loved them as best she could, that their potential is endless. Throughout the year, her advice repeats:

Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.

Image 4And in this moment at the end, as her seeds float far away on the wind to distant gardens and plains, she adds:

But never forget…even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds.

Isn’t that just so beautiful? I get tingly each time I read it, which fortunately is almost every day (my kids love it that much).

We received Miss Maple’s Seeds as a welcome-back-to-Montana gift from a dear friend. I’ve said before that one of the biggest things I missed when we were living in Hawaii was the four seasons, but I have to add gardening as well. We were renting our house there, and our landlord had a gardener to tend to our lawn and landscaping. It was really manicured and tidy and beautiful and tropical. But it wasn’t ours. The first thing we did with the kids when we moved back into our little cabin was plant. We planted a rock garden, an old wash basin, and my husband even hand-tilled a vegetable garden for us. We got our hands dirty, claimed some space, and nurtured our little flowers. Because we don’t have running water, we fill the watering cans from the hand pump and haul it to our various plantings. It has become a daily chore. They’re far too heavy for either kid to carry, of course, but they’re both happy to walk down the trail to our garden with one hand just touching the watering can to feel like they’re helping. Tending to these plants has been a big part of my kids’ summer, rooting them in a time of upheaval and displacement. It’s no wonder they’ve both fallen in love with this book, with its gentle prose and gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

IMG_3557I want Eliza Wheeler to write more! Check out her interview on BookPage, her drawings are the sweetest!


11 thoughts on “Miss Maple’s Seeds, by Eliza Wheeler

  1. OH MY GOODNESS. What an incredible find!! this looks so charming and sweet and delightful and and and……oh i’m in love. 🙂 Also loving that beautifully sweet pic of your kids!! And so wait, I have to know more about this no running water biz. This is very Little House on the Prairie!!! Is that for your whole house? Is that forever? Are you washing clothes in a tub? I must hear more about this! oh my stars look at all those lovely trees around you! beautiful.


    • We’re living off the grid right now, in a little cabin we’ve had for a dozen or so years. No electricity, no running water- propane lights and wood heat and a hand pump in the kitchen. It’s very simple and wonderful. It’s not forever, I’m not sure how long we’ll be here- the kids are signed up for school an hour plus away, so we’ll possibly move closer to town for the winter months anyway. We’ll see.


  2. I saw that interview in Book Page, too, and was intrigued, but forgot to look up the book. I should go do that now! (um, hoping that it won’t make my kids too upset about the hundreds of maple seedlings we have to uproot every spring.) And I’m also hoping for you living off the grid that you have one of those hand-crank washers or can go in to town to a laundromat rather than having to use a washboard and tub.


  3. Pingback: Ollie’s Ski Trip, by Elsa Beskow | Amélie's Bookshelf

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