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