Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Poppy Ann Fields has a wonderful rapport with bugs. She's a connoisseur of spiderwebs and "cicadas' newest symphony," Theule (Born to Ride) writes, and she can coax a pill bug out of its shell. Mixing with other human beings in their habitat is another story: Poppy does her best to disappear in every setting, whether it's blending in with wallpaper stripes or hiding in the branches of a miniature orange tree. It looks like the big 100th picnic birthday party for Grandma Phyllis will be no exception--though from the sidelines, beneath papel picado banners, the ever-observant child notices how the guests "looked like colorful leaves falling/ into/ each other,/ then/ drifting/ apart." When a dragonfly alights on Poppy's hand ("The scientific name is Anisoptera," Poppy tells everyone "softly, but clearly"), the crowd realizes she has a special connection with the natural world, and for the first time, Poppy's patience, focus, and willingness to embrace stillness count for something among her relations. "You wildflower, you," Grandma Phyllis says, giving her a big hug. Palacios (Between Us and Abuela) echoes the tenderness of the narration with a palette reminiscent of old-fashioned botanical prints: aqueous blues, warm reds, and warm, grassy greens. A glossary of "bug friends" concludes. Ages 3--6. (Mar.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1--Poppy is a young girl fascinated by insects. She spends her time in nature, studying various bugs, but when she is with people, she is timid, preferring to camouflage into the background instead of conversing. However, at her Grandmother Phyllis's 100th birthday party, which is held outside, Poppy spies a dragonfly, which draws her out into the crowd. When the dragonfly lands on her hand, the guests crowd around to learn about the creature. At first, Poppy wishes she could hide, until she at last finds her courage and quietly tells the guests that Anisoptera is the scientific name for a dragonfly. The concluding pages reveal that Poppy no longer sees herself as a wallflower, but instead as a "wildflower." The writing is lyrical, featuring figurative language that reflects the pensive Poppy and the serene nature with which she surrounds herself. Quiet, thoughtful Poppy is endearing and young readers will relate to her shyness and root for her to come out of her shell and share her knowledge with her friends and family. The artwork is detailed, featuring an array of characters, bright colors, and expansive spreads of Poppy enjoying the world around her. Back matter includes a glossary of the bugs depicted throughout the book. VERDICT Young readers will be encouraged to explore nature and find their confidence in this lovely picture book. Recommended.--Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Theule and Palacios bring a seeming wallflower to the fore.Poppy Ann Fields likes bugs more than most other humans. With bugs, she can sit and quietly observe their amazing tiny worlds. At parties with people, Poppy prefers to blend in with her surroundings, hiding away and avoiding others and going about in her own pensive wayuntil a dragonfly alights on Grandma Phyllis' 100th birthday cake. Poppy claps her hands in joy to see another arthropod friend, but her cheerful applause gets the attention of Uncle Dan, and soon the whole clan who have gathered to celebrate are looking at her. Poppy freezes but chooses to focus on the dragonfly, now sitting softly in her hand. In this moment Grandma Phyllis helps Poppy to see that she is no wallflower but instead truly a wildflower. Theule's gentle storytelling reveals that what others may consider weaknesses, like Poppy's quiet and keen observation, may actually be our greatest strengths. Palacios' cheery illustrations are bright and playful but softly textured, a perfect match for our protagonist's bright-eyed yet introverted curiosity. Poppy's dark hair and medium-brown complexion make her ethnicity somewhat vague, and her extended family appears to be quite diverse.A quiet, contemplative story that reminds readers to pause and enjoy the view. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.