Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lots of XXXXX

It may be the middle of winter but the seed and plant catalogs have been arriving pretty much daily for more than a month.  Gardeners don't stop dreaming with the change of seasons; anticipation of spring's arrival, thoughts of "playing" in our personal patch of the ground, feeds our souls. In a first time collaboration author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds offer readers possibilities when "what-ifs" and faith blend in their title, Plant A Kiss.

It goes like this.
Little Miss
planted a kiss.

How does one plant a kiss?  You dig a small hole in the dirt with a shovel just your size, kneel down, blow a kiss into the freshly-turned soil, and cover it up, proudly standing tall, shovel and watering can held much like a pint-sized American Gothic portrait.  You give it tender loving care not once but twice waiting even when it gets late. 

Doubts, yes; even pouts but finally there's a sprout.  This is no ordinary wee little plant; it sparkles, it shines in glittery pale yellow, pink dots scattered among its geyser-like growth.  Delightful cries bring a crowd of children surrounding, marveling at this wonder.

But now, what to do?  Bright red bowl in hand Little Miss gathers bits and pieces of the sprout and scatters it about to each and everyone she meets no matter the weather, no matter the reach.  When the bowl is finally empty she returns to her grand experiment.  She and readers alike celebrate the abundant rewards of sharing and the planting of a single kiss.

Every individual word, and there are few, welcome readers with rhyme moving to an almost musical beat.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal, like the best of gardeners knowing what to plant where, similarily sows language.  It is in the simplicity of her narrative that the beliefs of children, especially this one child, are held forth for all to ponder. 

Pastel yellow endpapers like handfuls of sun greet readers.  Peter H. Reynolds's recognizable lettering in black surrounded by abundant white space headlines most of the pages. His characters etched in black, hues of taupe and gray, the same pastel yellow with splashes of pink, are utterly charming.  Creating the glowing swirls of the sprout, first small puffs then expanding across pages in glorious curly waves, exhibits the creativity of Reynolds; the extent that an artist will go to get something just right.  Every reader will want to feel the magic for themselves.  Maybe that's the point.

Plant a Kiss written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds is a joyous journey of discovery.  There is nothing not to love about the trust of a child in believing in the impossible and then being willing to share "the fruits of her labors."


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