Review of Have You Ever Seen a Flower?

Have You Ever Seen a Flower?
by Shawn Harris; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g
5/21    978-1-4521-8270-4    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4521-8292-6    $11.99

The child in Harris’s pencil illustrations first appears as a bright patch of color within a grayscale cityscape and then emerges into a rainbow world of blooms. The pictures have a rich visual texture, vibrant color, and a naive style, which together imply a child as ostensible artist. This effect is well aligned with the playfully inquisitive text, with rhythm and repetition akin to books by Margaret Wise Brown and Ruth Krauss: “Have you ever seen a flower? I mean really…seen a flower? I mean way down in the clover with your face down in a flower?” The text’s direct address invites viewers and readers not just to see a flower alongside the child but to engage in a multisensory experience of communing with nature. Have you ever seen a book quite like this? Not likely.

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons University’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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