The Definitive Guide to

A Way with Wild Things

Written by Larissa Theule & illustrated by Sara Palacios
5.25 / 7.0
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.1 / 5.0
List Price
Target Age
Book Type
Add to list

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“Bright illustrations and a lovely story beautifully meld to epitomize coping mechanisms for quiet children and highlight the worth of each individual..”

This story begins with Poppy surrounded by nature—which includes, fittingly, a lot of poppies—enjoying her bug friends and appreciating the beauty surrounding her in “the cicadas’ newest symphony” and “ the spider mama’s weaving.” Poppy loves to talk with the ladybugs, but when she’s surrounded by people, it’s a different story—she’ll camouflage into her surroundings like a chameleon to avoid small talk and attention. At Grandma Phyllis’s hundredth birthday celebration, her Uncle Dan draws all attention to her as he calls her a wallflower, but as a dragonfly lands in her hand and with loving reassurance from her grandmother, Poppy realizes she’s “No, not a wallflower . . . A wildflower.” Theule’s lovely and poetic story emphasizes that having different interests, personalities, or ways of excelling doesn’t detract from your worth. Though Poppy is a little shy, she gains comfort from her dragonfly friend and remembers to relax, breath, and speak clearly, and Palacios’ brilliant illustrations further emphasize Poppy’s coping methods as the crowd of people turns to an array of beautiful flowers. The illustrations include notable texture, floral detailing, and commendable camouflaging of Poppy into a variety of surroundings. This beautiful book is a remarkable reminder of acceptance and appreciation, and—like Poppy sitting in nature—finding beauty in diversity.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

Poppy’s not flashy, but she stands out in her own way. This charming book about a girl who loves nature celebrates quieter kids.

Poppy Ann Fields loves bugs—sitting in the grass singing with cicadas, carrying on conversations with ladybugs—and feels much more at home outside with six-legged friends than with other people. Inside, Poppy prefers to disappear into the background. Some might call her a wallflower.

But when Grandma Phyllis turns 100, Poppy must go to the party. She wears a dress that blends into the garden setting, so she’s almost invisible, until a very special bug lands on Grandma Phyllis’s cake. Poppy can’t resist popping out to see it. Soon, the rest of the party guests notice this beautiful wild thing—Poppy and the dragonfly!

With a gently poetic text from newcomer Larissa Theule and wildly charming illustrations by Sara Palacios, this story shows that sometimes a wallflower is actually a wildflower.

What Kind of Book is A Way with Wild Things

Video Gallery

Quotes from This Book

  • “When the ants marched over her, / Poppy let them, even though she was ticklish.”
  • “Her whole heart glad, Poppy clapped her hands.”

Where Does This Book Stand Out

Everyday Core Feeling

The “Everyday Core Feeling” badge is awarded to exceptional books addressing common but powerful feelings.

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Poppy felt a little shy and nervous when everyone looked at her at the party. Have you ever felt shy or nervous like Poppy? What things help you feel comfortable and confident, like how the dragonfly helped Poppy relax and speak clearly?

  • Poppy’s personality includes loving nature and bugs, but staying out of the limelight at events. What is your personality like? If you like the limelight, why do you think it’s good to understand how Poppy feels about it?

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Book Snob Mom
Mom of boys. Lover of Harry Potter, Jane Austen and believes one can never own too many children's books!
5.25 / 7.0
The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
5.0 / 7.0
Mom of Boys
Mom of three little boys who love books about dragons, whangdoodles and magic.
5.25 / 7.0
B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
5.5 / 7.0

Book Lists That Include A Way with Wild Things

Book Topics › nature
Neat Children's Books About Nature
Book Topics › shyness
Children's Books About Shyness
Book Topics › bugs and insects
Great Children's Books About Bugs
Book Topics › self-esteem
Children's Books About Self-esteem
Kids Book Club
Monthly. Curated. Delivered.
Get Started
As low as $16.95 / mo

Who Wrote A Way with Wild Things

Larissa Theule

Larissa Theule has an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and is the author of the picture book How Do You Do? and two other picture books out in 2019. • @larissatheule

View Author

Who Illustrated A Way with Wild Things

Sara Palacios

Sara Palacios is the illustrator of the Agnes and Clarabelle chapter books and several picture books, including the Pura Belpré Honor-winning Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match. She lives in San Francisco and Mexico City. • @sarapalaciosillustrations (Instagram)

View Illustrator

What Has Larissa Theule Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Larissa know that you want more details about A Way with Wild Things! Try tweeting Larissa on twitter (@larissatheule).

What Has Sara Palacios Said About This Book

  • A note about how Sarah feels about Poppy

    Sara loves Poppy because she has always been shy herself, especially as a little girl, and hopes all the little wallflowers—wildflowers!—out there feel inspired by this book.

    Quote taken from dedication page of A Way with Wild Things

What Do Critics Say About This Book

  • Starred Review

    “Theule’s gentle storytelling reveals that what others may consider weaknesses, like Poppy’s quiet and keen observation, may actually be our greatest strengths. Palacios’ cheery illustrations are bright and playful but softly textured . . . A quiet, contemplative story that reminds readers to pause and enjoy the view.”

    Read the full review
  • “Young readers will be encouraged to explore nature and find their confidence in this lovely picture book.”

    Read the full review
  • “Palacios echoes the tenderness of the narration with a palette reminiscent of old-fashioned botanical prints: aqueous blues, warm reds, and warm, grassy greens.”

    Read the full review

More Books From These Creatives

Books You Might Enjoy If You Liked A Way with Wild Things

Book Details

Publication Date:
March 3, 2020
Text Details:
Typeset in Sassoon Sans Std.
Illustration Details:
Sara Palacios created the artwork for this book in layers, with cut paper, acrylic paints, and Photoshop.
Library of Congress Number (LCCN):

Contribute to this page

Core Score - 66%
Making good progress . . .
Depth Score - 46%
Just the barebones.
Improve this page
Are you the author or illustrator? Claim this page.