To Be Like the Sun (Hardcover)

By Susan Marie Swanson, Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Illustrator)

HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780152057961, 40pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2008

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Within every tiny seed lies the secret of what's to come. First a shoot, then a stem, a leaf, a bud--and finally a brilliant sunflower reaching high for the sun. Join a young girl as she waters and watches, celebrating the everyday miracles of growth and life.

About the Author

SUSAN MARIE SWANSON is the author of Getting Used to the Dark: 26 Night Poems and the picture book Letter to the Lake, both illustrated by Peter Catalanotto. As a visiting poet in schools, she reads and writes poetry with children. Her reviews and essays about children's literature regularly appear in Riverbank Review, for which she is a contributing editor. Ms. Swanson lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

MARGARET CHODOS-IRVINE is the author and illustrator of Best Best Friends and Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, a Caldecott Honor Book. She also illustrated Apple Pie Fourth of July,Hide and Seek, and Buzz, all by Janet S. Wong, Once Around the Sun by Susan Marie Swanson, Only You by Robin Cruise, and My House Is Singing by Betsy R. Rosenthal. Margaret Chodos-Irvine lives in Seattle, Washington.

Praise For To Be Like the Sun

"Addressing a sunflower seed, a small girl contemplates the transformation from seed to sunflower and back to seed again, from spring planting through winter snow. The poetic lines are exquisite, philosophical yet concrete. . . .Chodos-Irvine’s bold illustrations, utilizing various 'nontraditional printmaking techniques and materials,' juxtapose images of sunflower and sun and emphasize curving circular shapes that reinforce the recurring progression of life, the seasons and day and night. . . . The large, wonderfully patterned illustrations are perfect for sharing, and the ideas lend themselves to discussion and curriculum applications for young children." (starred review)

— Kirkus Reviews

"The lyrical free verse is enhanced by Chodos-Irvine's colorful linocuts. The blocky yet realistic prints fit the mood perfectly and bring subtle layers of interpretation to the words, as when tiny sunlike fireflies are added to the dusk scene in which the flower is 'thinking about the sun/even when it has gone away.' Younger children will enjoy the concrete imagery while older readers will appreciate the effortlessly evoked themes of seasons, life cycle, and the miracles of nature." 

— School Library Journal