A subtle reminder that education is a gift no amount of bullying can spoil.
Or at least that might be the point of this wordless, metaphorical head-scratcher. In a school situated in a drab neighborhood beneath tracks that are, in the first scene, being used to ship war materiel, a graduation ceremony is about to begin. As the students, depicted as elementary-age children, line up in their gowns, one sniggering graduate shoots a seed into the back of another’s head. The victim, smiling, picks up and pockets the seed. Later, after everyone else is swept away by proud parents, the bespectacled child adds the seed to a big jar full of similar ones, which are all then taken out to the schoolyard to plant in the cracks between paving stones. Parda depicts the setting and a racially and ethnically diverse cast of children and adults in dull or neutral tones, which sets up a vivid visual contrast as the seeds sprout, grow, and finally surround the school in a shining glory of golden sunflowers. In a final view the flowers are seen to be starting to spread, and the neighborhood looks a little less run-down.
A possible discussion starter, though enigmatic to a fault. (Picture book. 11-18)