cover image Ava’s Poppy

Ava’s Poppy

Marcus Pfister. North-South, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4057-7

Employing a gentle tone, Pfister encapsulates the circle of life in this sweetly simple story about a girl’s fondness for a flower. When ginger-haired Ava spies a bright red poppy in the field near her home one summer day, she recognizes it as both a thing of beauty and a new friend. Weeks pass, and faithful Ava “looked after her friend with tender loving care,” protecting it from the wind, shielding it from rain, and watering it. The flower eventually turns brown and withers, and Ava marks the sad occasion by burying the plant and arranging a ring of memorial stones in the poppy’s special spot. The subsequent spring brings with it a welcome new friend where the old one used to be, as readers will likely guess. Like he did in Questions, Questions, Pfister continues to explore stylistic departures from his Rainbow Fish books; his large-scale, cheerfully hued images, which have a mottled texture reminiscent of cabbage leaves, float against a white backdrop. Opening and closing spreads that depict the poppy from seedling to shriveled stem are well-chosen summary bookends. Ages 4–up. (Feb.)