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About The Book

Dig in to this vibrant picture book that celebrates all the surprises found down in the dirt!

I dig in the dirt...and find a seed.
Seed waits.
I dig in the dirt...and find a spider.
Spider runs.

Explore all of the creepy, crawly, dirty, muddy, green, and growing things that can be found outside in the garden. From pill bugs to worms to leafy green sprouts, young readers will love discovering the muddy garden habitat within the pages of this book—and outside in their own backyards!

This sweet and playful celebration of outdoor exploration is a perfect read aloud for story time.

About The Author

Photograph © Catie Stephens of Vuefinder Photography

Cindy Jenson-Elliott is the author of the celebrated Weeds Find a Way illustrated by Carolyn Fisher. She is a freelance writer for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and educational publishers, as well as a teacher and natural history instructor. She has an MA in education, and she enjoys spending time outdoors in San Diego, California, where she lives with her family. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Mary Peterson

Mary Peterson was born and raised in Iowa on a small family farm surrounded by cornfields and lots of animals. Those early years in the company of critters large and small continue to provide inspiration for her art. She is the illustrator of many books for children and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 1, 2016)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442441279
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD130L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

A young child is the catalyst of events when playing in the dirt during a beautiful day. Initially, the child digs and discovers a worm. A rock, then a pill bug, a seed, a spider, and a sprout all make an appearance. Add some water to the mix, and the child creates mud to begin another exciting adventure. Nonverbal characters also come into play; the worm plays an interested role when reviewing its surroundings and shows alarm when the rock blocks its entryway. Illustrations, created using linoleum block prints on paper with some digital touches, place the dirt in center view so the focus often remains on the child’s hands. Hints of what is to come, such as the packet of radish seeds strewn about, add a sense of wonder and celebration of the natural world. Brief phrases accentuate the necessity of both action and waiting. “I dig in the dirt.../and find a seed./Seed waits./I dig in the dirt.../and find a spider./Spider runs.” VERDICT- Here’s a sunny offering of the fun waiting to be explored just beneath the earth’s surface.–Meg Smith, Cumberland County PublicLibrary, Fayetteville, NC

– School Library Journal, January 1, 2016

An exploration intothe dirt uncovers worms, pill bugs, seeds, and more. An eager child is plantingsome seeds and seedlings into a plot of earth. The digging uncovers a worm."Worm wiggles." More digging produces a rock. "Rock sits."Still more digging uncovers a pill bug that curls, a seed that waits, a spiderthat runs, and a sprout that grows. Our intrepid gardener keeps digging,placing plants into the ground, watering them, and making mud in the process.The spare, repetitive text is appropriate for the audience, but it leads to anunfortunate lack of clarity regarding whether the child is finding some of theobjects in the dirt—the seeds and sprouts, for example—or placing them there.The illustrations, done with linoleum block prints on paper with digitaltouch-ups, feature close-ups of the child's hands and the soil being dug. Thecritters unearthed, even the worm and spider, appear friendly, and somestrategically placed birds and flowers add welcome pops of color. Use this oneto talk to preschoolers about what's in the ground and encourage them to findtheir own plot of earth to explore. (Picture book. 2-5)

– Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2015

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More books from this author: Cindy Jenson-Elliott

More books from this illustrator: Mary Peterson