Paralleling the planting of a garden in the fall and its blooming is the growth of a young girl and all the milestones that happen between fall and spring.
Diesen never makes the comparison overt, which makes this book all the more delightful. “Do you remember when we planted those flower bulbs together?” In a flashback that lasts until the final three spreads, a white, redheaded mother recounts the fun of that fall day spent with her mixed-race daughter (dad has brown skin and black hair). Vignettes capture the passage of time and all the things that have happened since then: the first day of school, a family vacation, a swimming medal, a lost tooth, several holidays, a broken arm, a birthday, a snowstorm. The mom had almost forgotten about those bulbs. But under the ground, as the seasons turned, they were pushing down roots, sending up stems, and blooming. (Lundquist’s spread illustrating this is gorgeous and captures both the changing seasons aboveground and the underground growth.) The final three spreads show the mother and daughter venturing out in a spring rain in their slickers and boots to see what has grown. The seemingly watercolor illustrations capture both the family members’ love for one another and the beauty of the natural world.
A lovely way of looking back on the year with a child who may not realize he or she has “bloomed.” (Picture book. 3-7)