The Wishing Flower

Knopf. May 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593430446.
PreS-Gr 2–Nature-loving Birdie, a white girl with bobbed red hair, uses “wishing flowers” (dandelions) in hopes that her wish will come true. She finds company in books and bugs until the day a new girl arrives at school. Together Birdie and Sunny, who has a “nature name,” long black hair, and tan skin, discover what it is like to move through the nerves of building a new friendship. The daily experiences of lunch, recess, and art class help show the realistic nature of making friends. The use of imagery (Birdie is “quiet as a starlight” and Sunny has “freckles like constellations”) bring the girls to life. In addition, the alliteration creates a strong read-aloud flow to the story and emphasizes the focus on nature (“Birdie loved books and bugs and birds”). Full-spread watercolor images highlight the natural world and school environment in which the girls spend time. Floating across the pages are stars, butterflies, birds, and bright lights that add to the upbeat tone of the book. Surrounding school children present as a diverse group.
VERDICT A strong purchase for all collections, especially as a social-emotional text.

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