A girl and her neighborhood band together to bring a little color to a drab city in Platt and Holden’s hopeful picture book.
In the bustling city, there is a vacant lot full of dreary weeds, litter, and not much else. Walking near the lot one day, a girl comes up with “a little seed of an idea.” The girl soon gets to work, pulling out weeds and cultivating the soil. Her actions, meanwhile, attract the attention of others. Neighbors join in to assist the girl, and the merry group clears the lot and enjoys their time together as seasons come and go. In her picture-book debut, Holden crafts a sequence of lovely pastel pictures, which convey the narrative in snapshots. The nondescript city stirs with typical city life that fades to the background as the neighborhood project grows. Plain and direct, Platt’s text offers platitudes wrapped in a wistful tone brimming with earnestness. At times, the text is too gentle to transcend the page, although it delivers enough zest to suggest optimism. The book’s message surfaces more clearly through the community—diverse in skin color, physical ability, age, and body size—depicted in the illustrations. The girl who acts as catalyst has dark skin and long, black hair. With the lot cleared, the girl and her neighbors plant seeds. Before long, a garden blooms in the once-empty lot, and a community comes together to celebrate.
A buoyant read to sweeten the spirit. (Picture book. 4-7)