A girl plant, nurtured from a wind-borne seed, helps a homebody gardener branch out and see the world.
Habit-loving Mr. Aster has an abiding love for garden, greenhouse, and home. “But tending a new seed fit nicely into Mr. Aster’s routine.” Soon, the growing plant achieves a personified sentience—and a gender, courtesy of an omniscient narrator. Mr. Aster, who is white, transplants the Little Green Girl and tells her about “their world.” In the walled garden among free-form trees and shrubs, the Little Green Girl is a faceless, leafy figure with a sunflowerlike crown and short, flared skirt accented with orange-yellow blossoms. She enjoys dog Basil and the garden’s squirrels and rabbits, but migrating birds, regaling her with their travels, induce wanderlust. Mr. Aster thwarts her attempts to leave, pruning her vining stems and (oddly) bandaging the roots she tries to pull up. Determined, she enjoins the animals to help her dig herself up and confronts Mr. Aster, appearing before him transplanted into a pot, wearing sunglasses. Man, dog, and plant set off, with Anchin’s amusing full-bleed and spot illustrations (in acryla gouache and pencil) placing them in tropical, desert, and urban settings. Travel broadens Mr. Aster: He plants succulents and palms, and he even initiates the trio’s next trip.
Those who can get behind the Little Green Girl’s faceless anthropomorphism might find the gambols of this quasi–father-daughter team diverting. (Picture book. 4-7)