After reading Stitches I wanted to see more by the artist, David Small. His illustrations have a slightly different feel in this book- they’re feel softer, more gentle. Still just as vivid, with the expressive line I admire so much. Story is of a young girl in what I assumed was Depression era, but not sure. She has to leave the family farm because times are hard (I guessed they were having trouble feeding the family) and goes to stay with her uncle in the city. He runs a bakery. He never smiles. She wants to work hard and prove herself useful, but also longs to see her uncle smile. And brings her love of plants with her, packets of seeds from her grandmother’s garden. Gradually through the pages you see green appearing then filling the pages- first in a corner here, on a fire escape there. She grows flowers in window boxes and more people stop to look at them from the sidewalk, drawing customers into the shop. But she’s really making a huge surprise for her uncle up on the roof of the building. There’s a double page spread near the end that’s just a glorious riot of flowers, bold and free with color. Lovely. It’s all told in brief letters the girl writes home, so not a lot of detail in the words, you have to gather it visually through the images, but it’s one you want to linger over anyway. The art is a bit loose and sketchy but I enjoyed trying to identify some of the species pictured anyway: daffodils, amaryllis, tulips, sunflower, zinnias, daisies, morning glory, cosmos, marigold, astilbe . . . Really nice story of a girl facing a hard situation, bringing some cheer into a dingy place with her ‘green thumb’.
Borrowed from the public library.