Friday, November 9, 2012

Daddy's Book of the Week - The Flower by John Light and Lisa Evans (Child's Play International Ltd)

Child's Play International have put us in the sort of really difficult position we love to be in here at ReadItDaddy, where both Charlotte and I love two books to the point where we really can't divide them down the middle to pick one as Book of the Week. So, sorry folks we're going to have to double up today and the way we're doing it (thanks to The Strolling Mum's suggestion) is to pick a book each. Stay tuned for Charlotte's, coming up next...

Both of our picks have been read, re-read, re-read again, discussed and have both been such thought provoking books that we're just happy to be able to share them with you.

So first up, my pick - The Flower by John Light and Lisa Evans.

Brigg is a super hero. He doesn't wear a cape. He doesn't even fly, melt steel with his heat vision, nor is he able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Nevertheless he's a super hero.

If you passed him on the street, you'd pay him no attention at all. But Brigg works in a library in a grey dusty city, looking after "forbidden" books.

Quite why or how this situation has arisen doesn't matter nor needs to be made clear. Like "The Lost Stars" which we reviewed earlier in the week, you don't need to over-egg Brigg's story because it is simple but has the impact of a freight train hitting you in the gut.

Brigg discovers one of the forbidden books to contain some of the most amazing things he's ever seen. Flowers. So he smuggles the book home and basks in the wonderful images of flowers and plants within.

While browsing a junk shop in a forgotten part of town, Brigg finds a picture of a flower nestling amongst the bric a brac. But it's not just a picture. It's a packet of seeds. With instructions on how to grow your own flowers...

We'll leave you to discover the rest of the story yourself but in Brigg's dark world, the tale takes some heart-wrenching twists and turns. Beth Cox (A Freelance expert on inclusive books and an absolute treasure trove of knowledge about the best children's books on the market at the moment) described The Flower as "1984 for kids" which is pretty much a back-of-book quote right there. It's dark but so beautifully told and so wonderfully illustrated that it can cross age gaps and generations with ease. In fact, I'll admit it, I have read it quite a few times on my own just to keep it fresh in my mind.

Charlotte's reaction to "The Flower" was to ask a lot of questions. How did Brigg's world get into such a state? Why were the books forbidden? And many more that would spoil or reveal too much of the book and we're desperately keen that you discover it properly yourself by reading it. It's a very important picture book and deserves to be clamoured about. Definitely deserving of a book of the week.

Charlotte's best bit: Brigg's initial discovery of the forbidden book in the library.

Daddy's favourite bit: Brigg's dark and dystopian world, like a visual depiction of the static hum on an old LP or the greyness of a cityscape under a leaden pre-stormy sky. Utterly mind blowing.

(Kindly supplied to us for review by Child's Play International Ltd)


meyoucoffee said...

How long is this book? It sounds like it could be an epic tale but I'm guessing it's probably epic in scope but not in physicality.

Truly fascinating either way but I think this sounds a little grown up for my 2 year old.

Phil May, ReadItDaddy said...

That's just it, it's about the same length as most other Children's Picture Books but manages to cram a colossal message into a few pages. Might be a bit dark for V, but Charlotte's recommendation would definitely be more easily digested (though be ready with a cuddle!)

John Light said...

I'm John Light and just came across your review. I'm very pleased that you found my book worth reading and worth commending to others. How did Brigg's world come about? I think it must have happened because people didn't care enough about what was going on all around them until it was almost too late. Brigg cared and what was most important to me was that though there were setbacks he didn't give up; he kept on trying.
(There is a bit more about me and my books at
All the best
John Light

ReadItDaddy said...

Hi John, and thanks for stopping by - and also thanks for the extra information about your wonderful book. It was interesting to see how Charlotte coped with her first real glimpse of a dystopia in a children's book - In her rather sweet way, she found it fascinating that the 'adults' in the story could let the world get into such a state. I love her questions about it though, and I love the way it made her so happy in the end that the dark turn of events could actually be the catalyst for turning the story completely around (am trying not to spoil the story for anyone too much).

Thanks also for the link to your site, will take a look!