SIDEWALK FLOWERS by JonArno Lawson
Kirkus Star

SIDEWALK FLOWERS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A child in a red hoodie and a man on a cellphone navigate an urban landscape, the child picking flowers from cracks and crannies along the way.

Best known for his nonsense verse, Lawson here provides a poignant, wordless storyline, interpreted by Smith in sequential panels. The opening spread presents the child and (probably) dad walking in a gray urban neighborhood. The child’s hoodie is the only spot of color against the gray wash—except for the dandelions growing next to a sidewalk tree, begging to be picked. The rest of their walk proceeds in similar fashion, occasional hints of color (a fruit stand, glass bottles in a window) joining the child and the flowers she (judging by the haircut) plucks from cracks in the concrete. Smith’s control of both color and perspective is superb, supporting a beautifully nuanced emotional tone. Though the streets are gray, they are not hostile, and though dad is on the cellphone, he also holds the child’s hand and never exhibits impatience as she stops. Once the child has collected a bouquet, she shares it, placing a few flowers on a dead bird, next to a man sleeping on a bench, in a friendly dog’s collar. As child and dad draw closer to home, color spreads across the pages; there is no narrative climax beyond readers’ sharing of the child’s quiet sense of wonder.

Bracketed by beautiful endpapers, this ode to everyday beauty sings sweetly. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 17th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-55498-431-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015




BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2015 ABOUT FAMILY:

ChildrenTHE NEW SMALL PERSON by Lauren Child
by Lauren Child
ChildrenMAMA'S NIGHTINGALE by Edwidge Danticat
by Edwidge Danticat
ChildrenYARD SALE by Eve Bunting
by Eve Bunting

MORE BY JONARNO LAWSON

ChildrenOLD MACDONALD HAD HER FARM by JonArno Lawson
by JonArno Lawson
ChildrenTHINK AGAIN by JonArno Lawson
by JonArno Lawson
ChildrenBLACK STARS IN A WHITE NIGHT SKY by JonArno Lawson
by JonArno Lawson

MORE BY SYDNEY SMITH

ChildrenKNOCK ABOUT WITH THE FITZGERALD-TROUTS by Esta Spalding
by Esta Spalding
ChildrenTOWN IS BY THE SEA by Joanne Schwartz
by Joanne Schwartz
ChildrenCANADA YEAR BY YEAR by Elizabeth MacLeod
by Elizabeth MacLeod
ChildrenGRANT AND TILLIE GO WALKING by Monica Kulling
by Monica Kulling

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE STORM WHALE IN WINTER by Benji Davies
by Benji Davies
ChildrenKNUFFLE BUNNY by Mo Willems
by Mo Willems
ChildrenTHE NIGHT GARDENER by Terry Fan
by Terry Fan