With the recent death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Candlewick Press announced that it is moving up the on-sale date for Rose’s Garden, Peter H. Reynolds’s tribute to Kennedy’s mother and to a Boston park named after her, from February 2010 to October 13. The picture book, which tells the story of a girl named Rose who gathers seeds from around the world in her teapot and comes to Boston, where she plants them along what is now the Greenway, “poignantly captures my mother’s enduring spirit,” wrote the Senator, who saw an early edition of the book. “May this powerful story... plant fresh seeds of hope and service for generations to come.”
In an unusual twist for a work that celebrates the fact that the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway serves as a melting pot, which brings together diverse neighborhoods from Chinatown to the North End, the book itself is drawing together two very different publishing houses. As part of its decision to push Rose’s Garden into the fall season, Candlewick will co-promote it with a new picture book from HarperCollins, Tess’s Tree by Jess Brallier, which Reynolds illustrated. It’s still too soon to know what form those plans will take or how Candlewick will re-strategize 10 Reynolds events originally scheduled for next spring.
Reynolds with some young fans.
Although Rose’s Garden will launch next month with a 30,000-copy print run, the idea for it came back in spring 2007, when Greenway Conservancy chair Peter Meade asked Reynolds to consider setting a story along the 15 acres of public land that were turned into the Greenway as a result of the Big Dig. While the story, which Reynolds completed in time for the Greenway’s inauguration last October, contains a number of local elements, including the teapot and the Greenway itself, Reynolds says that he wanted a fable that children could participate in around the world, one that would live up to the imagination required for a group of people to take a big ugly slash of metal and see a garden. For him, Rose is a metaphor for immigration, and the story, rather than being a true Boston tale, is “Boston-ish.”
Due to time constraints, the TeleFable edition of the book, which can still be viewed for free on the Greenway Web site, has a different cover from the finished book. Reynolds explains that “a lot of cooking goes into the cover.” The flowers from Rose’s garden originally appearing on the cover have been replaced with an iconic teapot that hearkens back to the Boston Tea Party and the steaming kettle on Court Street in downtown Boston.
Reynolds dedicated the book to Rose Kennedy and plans to donate a portion of the royalties to the Greenway Conservancy’s educational projects.
Rose’s Gardenby Peter H. Reynolds. Candlewick, $15.99 Oct. ISBN 978-0-7636-4641-7