The Bean Trees

"From the first moment I picked it up out of its nest of wet blanket, it attached itself to me by its little hands like roots sucking on dry dirt"

What is being compared? What does this reveal about Taylor's reaction to the needs of the child?

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The comparison is to a new plant with its life roots sucking the nutrients the dirt has. Of course the metaphor is baby turtle clinging to Taylor for life giving properties that only a mother can give.