Janet Lucy, Author
Colleen McCarthy-Evans, Illustrator
Publishing by the Seas, Fiction, November 2012
Suitable for Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Sunflowers, Life Cycles, Nature, Courage, Faith, Harmony, Peace, Patience, Wisdom
Opening: “Dawn awoke early one morning washing the summer sky in fresh new shades of pink, orange and lavender.”
Synopsis: Life in the garden was alive with activity. Gloria, a tall and wise sunflower, sprung up earlier in the season near a pepper tree. She was once a black and white seed in one of the bird feeders. She was dropped by a bird to the ground where she planted herself and grew. Two smaller sunflowers, Sunny and Solita, grew beside Gloria. Their day was peaceful until a hawk swooped down to the feeders and disturbed the tranquility in the garden. The birds flew off. Solita and Sunny were frightened and shouted at the hawk. But, Gloria reminded them “We are sunflowers, golden and radiant.” “Our job is to be loving and peaceful wherever we stand.” Peace returned to the garden, but later that afternoon a thunderstorm darkened the skies and threatened the strength and stability of the sunflowers. Once again Sunny and Solita held on by their roots afraid they might tumble. Gloria reached for their stalks and pulled them close. Their resiliency was tested in the face of a big storm.
Why I like this book: Janet Lucy has created an inspiring book for children with many gentle life lessons about staying centered when turbulence is swirling around you, being who you are supposed to be, living in the moment, being present with those we love and being thankful. These are all concepts children will grasp. There is so much depth to this story and I had to be careful not to give it away. With spring around the corner, it is also a story about life cycles, death, and transformation. Colleen McCarthy-Evans’s watercolor illustrations are exquisite and perfect for the story.
Resources: Sunflowers are an international symbol of Peace. Lucy urges children to plant seeds of peace in their gardens. You only need to visit The Three Sunflowers website to find wonderful resources, activities and a teaching guide to share with children. I was intrigued with how many virtues are included in this story, all great topics for discussion.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.