My Friends the Flowers

William Lach, Author, Doug Kennedy, Illustrator
William Lach, illus. by Doug Kennedy, Abrams, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8109-8397-7
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Singsong verse and flamboyant pictures introduce a cast of personified flowers in various settings. The narrator—identified only at the end—provides snippets of info about the various blooms: Marigold scares bugs, Morning Glory loves sun, Franklinia is a late bloomer, Camellia lacks a scent. Some of the ditties are silly or awkward ("Azalea wears a shirt so bright it almost seems to glow him") and the rhythm can be rocky ("Forsythia goes everywhere to shake her yellow bells./ And Miss Mock Orange sings as sweet as her old nickname tells"). Kennedy (Pirate Pete) uses pencil, acrylics and a computer to create the illustrations, in which flowers' cartoon faces (which wouldn't look out of place in Disney's Fantasia) range from cutesy to garish: a cherry blossom resembles a kewpie-doll, while impatiens, who "hang around the shady parts of town," are portrayed as bearded thugs. Rotund insects playfully interact with the flowers, adding pep to the pages. A glossary of flowers, illustrated with photos, and instructions for planting three varieties of gardens augment this marginal tale. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
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