A new garden addition becomes a sprite’s beloved friend.
The first two spreads are wordless: A gardener, seen from the neck down, places a roly-poly gnome decoration on a stump. From the window of a miniature house, an excited sprite watches. The turn of the page shows the tiny figure exiting the house and then lovingly setting off with her new friend in her arms, later shifted to the basket on her back, a content and loving smile on her face. (The sprite is gendered only in the flap copy; her blue shirt, brown pants, red conical hat, and pageboy haircut could belong to either gender, though she does have pronounced eyelashes.) The sprite expresses her love for her inanimate friend using nature similes: “I love you… // Like raindrops love a puddle, // Like moss loves a tree, / Like mushrooms love the shade, // Like fur loves a cuddle.” This last shows the sprite and her gnome held softly within the curl of a squirrel’s tail. The seasons pass, and it’s an early winter’s evening as the duo heads back to the cozy cottage. Smith’s rhymes and rhythms are often rough, and the similes are sometimes nonsensical: “Like quiet loves the snow”; “Like a pillow loves to sleep.” Bright colors with lots of charming details—smiling insects and flora—fill the spreads.
Just one of many picture books about expressions of love, it’s not likely to become a favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)