I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast

Published by Flying Eye Books. Authored by Michael Holland FLS. Illustrated by Philip Giordano.

Recommended for: Year 4.

Suggested length of study: 4 weeks.

Download the full scheme of work

Why the book was selected

This beautifully illustrated book combines fascinating facts about plants with practical plant DIY projects. It was chosen for Year 4 as it will build upon the learning from the Year 3 science programme of study and develop a deepening interest and understanding of how plants shape our world and how humans have harnessed the power of plants in so many ways. The book combines distinctive illustrations with well-written text.  Michael Holland uses scientific language whilst retaining an appealing and accessible tone, making this a wonderful non-fiction book to explore with children. This book is packed full of fascinating information, so we don’t suggest that you read the entire book to teach the sequence. However, we recommend that you make sure that copies are available for children to revisit the pages you have read together and explore pages that interest them, independently.

This book could be revisited in year 5 as it presents opportunities for reinforcing science content for this year group.

Links to National Curriculum in England

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
  • explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment
  • recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things

Curriculum connections

  • Science
    • plants

About the author

Michael Holland started growing plants at the age of 8. Inspired by The Pip Book by Keith Mossman, he started growing plants in the airing cupboard. His love for plants continued to develop and so too did his desire to teach others about plants. Having studied Ecology at Lancaster University and Oregan State University he then went on to have a long career at Chelsea Physic Garden where he became Head of Education. During his 17 years in this role he taught people of all ages about the natural world. His passion, excitement and fascination for plants is evident in this book that leaves the reader in no doubt about the importance of plants in every part of our lives.

About the illustrator

Philip Giordano’s unique style combines simple colourful shapes to create stunning illustrations with personality. Born in Italy to a Filipana mother and a Swiss father he has developed a love of travel and currently lives in Tokyo. Giordano studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and at the European institute of Design as well as earning a Master in Animation in Turin.  His illustrations have won many awards including: Silver Medal by the Society of Illustrators; the White Raven Award; the International Illustration Prize. Giordano explores the use of many different techniques when creating his illustrations using technology to compose digital collages to more natural approaches including painting on wood. He also designs toys and this playful side is apparent in his illustrations for this book.

A note about lessons

Our lessons are organised as meaningful chunks of learning. Most of them will fit a standard 45 minute to 60 minute session. However, some of them are shorter and others will run for a series of linked sessions. It is anticipated that you will not teach all the lessons. Select those that suit the needs of your class and add them to your personalised plans.

Text potential

Lessons for this book

Before Reading


Let’s Get Growing

Sowing seeds to grow food in recycled objects


Help the Budding Botanist!

Discovering the skills of a botanist whilst developing plant vocabulary.

Connecting Plants and Humans

Exploring children's knowledge of the connections between plants and humans.

During Reading

First Encounters

Considering Contents

Considering how to use the contents before reading.

Required reading: Contents

Celebrating Connections between Image and Text

Initial exploration of the Images and Text.

Required reading: Front Cover, Front Endpaper, Back Cover

How to Read this Book

Understanding the conventions that help us read this book.

Pages 9-13

Diving into Diagrams

Understanding diagrams that explain processes.

Required reading: 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24

Seeds On the Move

Using design and layout to find information

Required reading: 30 and 31

Ask Me A Question

Developing cognitive reading strategies.

Required reading: 102 and 103

Designing a Tropical Leaf

Using a kinaesthetic approach to learn new vocabulary.

Required reading: 50 and 51

Digging Deeper

Noun-Maker Verb-Creator

Exploring how to create compound expressions by connecting verbs and nouns.

Required reading: 45, 49, 60, 68, 73

Now That’s a ‘Peculiar’ Word

Understanding the use of quotation marks to highlight a word being used peculiarly.

Required reading: 25, 26, 38

How to be concise and precise

Learning ways to be concise when writing instructions.

Required reading: 26 and 27

Evaluating Illustrations

Evaluating the effectiveness of illustrations

Required reading: 46, 47, 112, 113

After Reading

Review and Reflect

Composing Nature’s Tune

Using reading to prompt exploration and experimentation.

Required reading: 88, 89, 90 and 91

Plant Awards

Selecting the plants that interested us the most.


Exploring the symbolism of flowers

Required reading: 73, 108, 109

Tasting Time

Tasting the food that you grew from seeds

Required reading: Whole book

Wider Learning Opportunities

DIY Activity

Learning more about plants through practical activities.