cover image The Digger and the Flower

The Digger and the Flower

Joseph Kuefler. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-242433-4

Crane, Dozer, and Digger work together to build everything that’s needed for a city: buildings, bridges, and roads. Then Digger spies a single blue flower, and he’s besotted. “Hello, there,” he greets it. While Crane and Dozer build on, Digger waters the flower, shields it from the wind, and sings to it. But the lot on which the blue flower stands is the last empty site in the city; in a scene that may be difficult for sensitive readers, Dozer summarily cuts the flower down. Shaken, Digger finds a way for the flower to live on. The image of the clunky piece of construction equipment tenderly caring for the fragile plant gives the story charm, and so do its strong, simple images. The red, orange, and school-bus yellow of the vehicles stand out against the black-and-white buildings, and the landscape is textured with halftone dots, like close-ups of old newspaper photos. Kuefler (Rulers of the Playground) doesn’t try to make readers laugh; Digger’s project is treated with a seriousness that befits a tale about the conflict between civilization and nature. Ages 4–8. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Jan.)