Friday, February 28, 2014
Weeds and wonder…
We have no kids, yet Weeds Find a Way is the second children’s book I’ve been offered for review. Why do I say yes? Because I adore illustrated books for kids, so much so I spent far too long pouring over this list of 8 “picture books” up for the 76th Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American children's book of 2013. I wanted to order them all!
Weeds Find a Way (words by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and pictures by Carolyn Fisher) is a richly illustrated book which should ignite a little wonder in any person (young or old) who is lucky enough to open its cover.
Since weeds are all around us how better to entice a young person to the beauty of nature? I think this book would make a great gift for a kid without gardening parents. If they start noticing the differences in the weeds around them, and paying attention to their blooms and seeds, perhaps there just might be a lifelong fire lit for the appreciation of all plants?
The final four pages of the book ("Meet the Weeds") seem to be directed at a much older audience, the words more educational. Perhaps this section is intended as a teaching guide for both the parents and the children?
From that section: “So go outside. Look around. You don’t need a garden to know that nature is at work. Chances are, wherever you stand, a weed is nearby, working its way through the soil, finding a way to live and bloom, adapt and grow in tough times and desolate places, making the world more beautiful one blossom at a time.”
My husband Andrew is fond of saying “First have wonder, then make wonder” to describe his approach to artwork. He finds wonder in the natural world and the way people interact with it, and then translates this wonder into artwork. He began working on a new series of drawings about the same time I received Weeds Find a Way. I find his approach and the message in the book to be very similar, and inspiring. His latest drawings and a couple of books are destined for our niece and nephew in California.
The topic of his work is the mystery of what lies under the water’s surface. The 3-D drawing pictured below is a depiction of a ship on the surface of the water, a long line down into the depths and a diving ball (bathysphere) with a window allowing the occupants to see out into the depths around them swarming with deep sea life.
There are other drawings and cut outs designed to perk up curious little minds.
This shark is meant to be mounted on a car window, his open mouth eating the cars and houses as you drive by...
A primitive jawless fish, How did it chew its food? How did it show its mood? Did the other primitive fishes think it shallow or rude?
Fishes or weeds, dangerous gardening, or a tiger that decides the civilized life isn't all it’s cracked up to be I hope you'll take the opportunity to pick up an illustrated children's book and get lost for a minute in the wonder...(it's almost as fun as getting lost in the garden)....
Weeds Find a Way was sent to me free-of charge by the publisher and marketing firm, I was under no obligation to write about it, or my husband's artwork.
All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.