A flower-to-be, looking like a green pea and behaving just like a human preschooler, voices its fears about its inevitable transformation.
There’s the dark. (“You never know / who might be digging… / …in the DARK.”) There’s the equally scary-seeming light looming above. With bona fide impediments like rocks and spiders popping up, young readers should develop real empathy for the little plant during its complex transit. A bespectacled worm offers encouragement and reassurance, flanked by ants and beetles. “There are friends to feed you, / friends to weed you, / and friends indeed who / really need you!” A series of gatefolds serves to reinforce the sense of expansiveness of soil and, later, blue sky, as the seed-turned-sprout grows into a towering, daisylike flower. Cordell uses a flat, matte color palette of browns, greens, worm-pink and sky blue, with thick black line for details. He preserves the plant’s personality throughout its growth spurt, successively using the same pale green hue and facial expressions for the seed, sprout and the flower’s center. Hood’s rhyming text is charming, but the final gatefold, a full three pages tall, must be folded away and turned before its verse can be concluded on the final spread—a slight detraction from the flow.
As sweet and benign as a summer daisy. (Picture book. 3-5)