Saturday, June 30, 2018

The boy who grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz illustrated by Steve Adams

Every now and then I pick up a book and it just makes me gasp. I know it is silly to say a book is a favourite but for a few minutes (until the next book arrives) The boy who grew Flowers is my new most favourite book!  It was published in 2005 but you can still buy the paperback version.

I seem to have read so many books about seeds and flowers linked with urban renewal (see below) so I thought here we go again - but I was totally wrong.  This is a book about kindness and individuality. It is about observation and patience. It is about talents and the joy of friendship.

"Rink Bowagon was a boy from the deep country.
He lived out past where the blacktop road
became a dirt road, and the dirt road
petered out into a little footpath.

The path wound through the ancient trees
of a wild forest, hopped Black Bear Creek,
headed all the way up Lonesome Mountain,
made a right-hand turn and ran smack
into the Bowagon's door."

I was hooked from the first two words.  What a brilliant name - Rink Bowagon. Rink's family are a talented bunch but Rink himself has the best talent of all. During the full moon he "sprouted flowers all over his body."

A  new girl arrives at the school with the equally delightful name of Angelina Quiz. "She had an easy manner, a luminous smile, and her right leg was shorter than her left leg by an inch." Angelina comes from a family of ballroom dancers but sadly she cannot dance. This issue comes to the fore when the teacher posts a notice that the school dance will be held this Saturday.

Rink is a problem solver. He gathers materials at home and he works for three days. You can see the result here.

"Angelina wriggled her bare toes into the slippers then and there.
For the first time in her life, she felt herself stand up straight.
She took on step, then another, and then she did a little practice dance step.
Angelina looked at Rink with delight."

Now find this book and keep reading because there are more surprises in store.

There are some publishers who you can approach with great confidence and one of them is Barefoot Books.  I am so happy they found this book and published it.

Even though it is not the topic of this book if you are thinking about urban renewal I would look for books such as The Flower by John Light, The Gardener by Sarah Stewart,  Joseph's Yard by Charles Keeping, The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman, Florette by Anna Walker and The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.

For an older child I would link The boy who grew Flowers with the novel Bronze and Sunflower.

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