“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.
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.
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?
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. www.sarapalaciosillustrations.com • @sarapalaciosillustrations (Instagram)
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.
“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.”
“Young readers will be encouraged to explore nature and find their confidence in this lovely picture book.”
“Palacios echoes the tenderness of the narration with a palette reminiscent of old-fashioned botanical prints: aqueous blues, warm reds, and warm, grassy greens.”