A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Bad Seed can help kids understand complex emotions on a deeper level, and even illustrates very elementary notions of psychology.
Even when you're going through a hard time, you can decide to try to be happy. You can recognize the pain of the past and change your situation. It's important to forgive yourself. Dwelling on feelings of pain and trauma can hinder self-growth and happiness. It's important to take life "one day at a time."
Positive Role Models
The Bad Seed is a "deeply" imperfect character, but that is also really refreshing. To see a character take control of his life and turn his situation around can be very empowering for kids. Even though he's "sooooo bad" in the beginning of the story, that does not stop him from trying his hardest to find happiness. And what's more, he still makes mistakes at the end of the book. He's learning to take it one day at a time.
Violence & Scariness
After the Bad Seed is almost eaten -- which can be scary, as the big teeth start to close around him -- he gets knocked out and wakes up lost and confused behind the bleachers. He's all banged up and has cuts and Band-Aids all over him. At the beginning of the story, when he's really naughty, he's mean and aggressive to others. The other characters seem scared of him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bad Seed is a picture book written by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald about a naughty sunflower seed who tries hard to be better. The main character is suffering from a traumatic incident -- he and his seed family were harvested from a dying sunflower and nearly eaten, after which he gives up and becomes a friendless drifter. His behavior ranges from cutting lines and making messes to not bathing and being generally bitter about the state of his life. Kids may giggle at some of the nasty stuff he does, and maybe even recognize themselves in some of it. Ultimately, he realizes that he wants to be happy and works on digging himself out of his predicament "one day at a time." The lessons here focus on self-improvement and acknowledging painful events in the past that can impact happiness. Even the baddest seed of them all can find redemption. In terms of violence, the Bad Seed is almost eaten -- which can be scary, as the big teeth start to close around him. And he falls from the bleachers, gets banged up and has Band-Aids all over him.
Is It Any Good?
This unique story about a troubled young sunflower seed packs a lot of messages into its colorful cartoonish pages. Kids may giggle at how bad the seed is -- he cuts in line, lies, doesn't bathe, makes messes, and is rude to his friends. But it's when the Bad Seed redeems himself -- deciding one day it's not too late to turn his life around -- that will really stick with kids, especially kids who struggle with self-control and disruptive behavior. No one is born bad. Kids have control over their day-to-day attitude, and as The Bad Seed illustrates, it's never too late to make a change. The Bad Seed is a memorable character on a difficult but rewarding journey. Readers of all ages will get a kick out of the story's dry wisdom and whimsy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.