The Boy Who Grew Flowers

Jen Wojtowicz, Author, Steve Adams, Illustrator , illus. by Steve Adams. Barefoot $16.99 (30p) ISBN 978-1-84148-686-4

Children who struggle to fit in at school will find a hero in the star of this debut children's book. Rink Bowagon has an unusual quirk: his body sprouts flowers at the first sign of a full moon. "Shy and quiet and different," Rink is shunned by the other kids, who are afraid too of his oddball family, which includes rattlesnake tamers and shape-shifters. One day a new girl appears at school. With her "easy manner [and] luminous smile," Angelina Quiz fits right in, even though her right leg is shorter than her left. Rick finds her "forthright and honest, yet always kind," and Angelina is intrigued too ("She marveled at how his absence could take the shine off such a pretty, sunny day"). A friendship blossoms when Rink makes Angelina a pair of special snakeskin shoes that allow her to dance. Adams's incandescent illustrations, painted on textured boards in deep blues and green integrate flowers and full moons scattered across the pages, and the characters' faces look almost beatific. The story's latter half focuses on the growing connection between Rink and Angelina. If the narrative doesn't follow through on its early promise of helping young readers understand the beauty of being different, it will remind them of the power of kindness. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/12/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84686-749-1
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-78285-142-4
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