Reviews of The Flower (Child's Play Library)

I don’t remember how I found out about this gorgeous book. Probably when I was browsing Amazon in the shop pretending to work! Well, if I didn’t have I would have never come across The Flower and Lisa Evan’s illustrations. And it would have been my loss.

The Flower is the story of Brigg, a sad-looking kid in a sad-looking city. He lives in a grey building, and goes to work every morning under a grey rain, in a grey library. But libraries are the place where the dangerous books are kept and one day Brigg finds one. It has pictures of beautifully coloured things called flowers. Brigg is filled with joy looking at the pictures but he’s sad because there are no flowers in the city. He looks everywhere until he arrives in the old part of town where in the window of a junk shop he sees the picture of a flower! They are seeds and when he takes them home he gathers a bunch of dust and waters them. One morning, the seeds blossom and Brigg’s room is filled with wonderful colours….until the room cleaning system sucks them away. But Brigg knows where the flower might be. Outside the city, where the big heaps of dust are…

This is a strange and fascinating book. It’s set in the future, where flowers have disappeared, probably sucked away by the cleaning systems. The sad feeling of greyness is perfectly conveyed by Evan’s illustrations. So much that when the picture of the flower appears, so pink and bright, it lights up the whole page.

I love almost every illustrations of this book. I like when things that are not in the texts are added independently. Like Brigg’s big funny looking cat. Or the lovely patterned kettle with which Brigg waters the seeds. The junk shop is a great example of this. It spreads over two pages and kids could play at spotting all the things and animals hidden in the windows. And then there’s the explosion of flowers and plants and happiness when the plant grows in Brigg’s room. If you look closely you can spot two stripy socks, the kettle, an umbrella, the book, an alarm clock and the omni present cat.

It really is visually stunning. Even when the flowers are not in the pictures, there’s always something unusual to notice, like the way the words He buries the seeds in it and added some water look like their pouring out of the kettle into the mug.

But what I love most maybe is the message. Flowers can give happiness only by looking at them. They are extraordinary and yet so natural. I couldn’t imagine living in a world without them, and any book that reminds us of how precious they are must be treasured.

http://valentinasroom.blogspot.com. 27th April 2008

There is a touchingly indelible beauty about this most remarkable book. With a seemingly simple text, John Light tells the story of a young boy who works in a bleak city's gloomy library whose dark cellar houses banned books. He sneaks one out to read at home in secret, and is enchanted by the picture of a flower, a rare treat in a flowerless world, a world which he now sets about seeking to change. Lisa Evans illustrations have a unique quality which captures brilliantly the poignancy, the bleakness and the final floral optimism of the text. Aimed at young children, this magical book will have a strong appeal well, well beyond the early years.

Trevor Dickinson School Librarian Journal. 30th June 2007

I can't stop looking at The Flower - it really does remind us that books can work magic. This is a book for all ages - a book that you must look at again and again, and share with all your friends.

Wendy Cooling. 30th June 2007

Brigg is a little boy who lives in a dull grey city and works in the library where dangerous books are kept. When he discovers a book that says 'Do Not Read' he can't help but have a look, and when he does it opens up a colourful new life and desire for Brigg. This is a book that can immerse you into a truly mysterious childhood notion. Lisa Evans creates a magical concept on each and every page with her beautiful and whimsical illustrations. Great to read together or to a group.

Creative Steps. 31st May 2007

The illustrations in this minimal text picture book are very much in the Tim Turner tradition - muted pastel shades of brown and grey, vacant looking expressions on wide, round faces. A distinctly dystopian eeriness fills its hauntingly mesmerising pages. 'Brigg lived in a small room in a big city.' begins the story - and so we follow the resigned drudgery of Brigg's soulless, colourless, urban life. One day he steals a book from the library where he works and learns about flowers - something he has never seen in the barren metropolis he calls home. Then, seeing the same shapes and colours on a packet of seeds in a shop window, he transforms his dreary accommodation by growing a beautiful plant. But Brigg s delight turns to anguish when the plant is sucked away by the automatic cleaning system in his apartment. All is not lost however, as the plant continues to thrive in a dust heap outside the city, and hope for a more colourful future is restored. A simple story with a strong message against apathy, reinforcing the notion that it only takes one person to make a difference.

Rowan Stanfield Carousel. 31st May 2007

Sometimes the world can seem a gloomy, grey place. But all it takes is a little seed of hope, and happiness can begin to grow all around us. This is the message from John Light's new book, The Flower, captured perfectly with illustrations by Lisa Evans. Despite its sophisticated undertones, this beautiful, dream-like picture book tells a simple story that children will easily relate to.

Child Education. 31st March 2007

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