Little Weed and Spider Sam
by Elizabeth Lauren Owen

"'Little Weed...all things are a challenge. Some you will win and some you will lose.' Said Spider Sam."

When unwanted Little Weed sprouts in the Tulip Garden and the tulips tease her, a kind little girl replants her in her pasture. There, Scorpion stings her to test her strength. After Scorpion spreads a rumor that Little Weed is strong, the whole pasture wants to challenge her. Since all Little Weed wants is to grow in the pasture without trouble, she befriends wise Spider Sam, whom all the pasture knows. He helps her win new friends. Meanwhile, Little Red Flower challenges Little Weed to take the Sun Battle challenge, where anyone who lasts the scorching afternoon without wilting becomes the winner. Little Weed wins the battle with her resilience and is finally acknowledged by the whole pasture.

Owen crafts a beautiful story about survival, determination, and friendship. Using Little Weed’s experiences in the pasture, where she faces continuous challenges, Owen focuses on how an individual’s tenacity can overcome the most hostile conditions. It is because of her strength—physical and mental—that Little Weed successfully survives the bullying in the Tulip Garden, the sting of Scorpion, and the Sun Battle. Additionally, the portrayal of her new friends—Spider Sam, Lady Bug, Sunflower Stan, Bee, Green Beetle, and Bull Thistle—conveys that there will always be friendly, helpful individuals amongst unfriendly ones who will always accept us for who we are. Bright, colorful illustrations by Robin Thompson bring out the playful mood of the story, while the cheerful, wise tone subtly conveys that all life’s challenges can be faced with the right attitude. Radiant and breezy, this is a feel-good story that enlightens about life through the beauty of Nature.

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