Celia is a listener. Every Sunday, people line up to tell the old woman their problems, and in exchange for her kind service, they each give her a seed. However, this is no gardening tale.
One Sunday, a boy named Julian is in line, but somehow, he’s lost his seed. With no seed to give Celia, he’s stuck feeling sad. As on every Monday, Celia collects her seeds in a wheelbarrow and sets out on her route. In town, she blows on a few seeds that immediately become beautiful balloons. She tosses some seeds into the bakery, and they colorfully frost all the cupcakes. In the countryside, she throws some in the air, and they become apples on a tree. Late that night, her seeds become stars. On her way home, she finds Julian’s seed and then Julian himself. She takes him home and helps him plant his seed in a flowerpot. Over time, of course, the seed blossoms into a flower, and Julian’s heart is filled with happiness. The cover gives a clue to the yin-yang of the artwork, which salvages this quirky import from Belgium. Aside from a few rosy cheeks, the only colors are the eruptions of the seeds into vivid hues, contrasting sharply against the sketchily drawn figures in black and white.
Imaginative? Yes. Metaphoric? Yes. Broadly appealing? Probably not, but readers who do respond will probably think it’s too bad there aren’t any real Celias in the world. (Picture book. 4-6)