Book Reviews

THE THREE SUNFLOWERS are grateful for the following REVIEWS:

We are deeply honored by Patricia Tilton’s review at Children’s Books Heal

The Three Sunflowers

29 Mar 2013

by Patricia Tilton in Inspirational, Janet Lucy, Perfect Picture Books Tags: , , , ,

Three Sunflowerscropped-tts-cover-for-website-header

The Three Sunflowers

Janet Lucy, Author

Colleen McCarthy-Evans, Illustrator

Publishing by the Seas, Fiction, November 2012

Suitable for Ages: 4 and up

Themes:  Sunflowers, Life Cycles, Nature, Courage,  Faith, Harmony, Peace, Patience, Wisdom

Opening:  “Dawn awoke early one morning washing the summer sky in fresh new shades of pink, orange and lavender.” 

Synopsis:  Life in the garden was alive with activity.   Gloria, a tall and wise sunflower, sprung up earlier in the season near a pepper tree.  She was once a black and white seed in one of the bird feeders.  She was dropped by a bird to the ground where she planted herself and grew.  Two smaller sunflowers, Sunny and Solita, grew beside Gloria.  Their day was peaceful until a hawk swooped down to the feeders and disturbed the tranquility in the garden.  The birds flew off.  Solita and Sunny  were frightened and shouted at the hawk.  But, Gloria reminded them “We are sunflowers, golden and radiant.”  “Our job is to be loving and peaceful wherever we stand.”   Peace returned to the garden, but later that afternoon a thunderstorm darkened the skies and threatened the strength and stability of the sunflowers.   Once again Sunny and Solita held on by their roots afraid they might tumble.  Gloria reached for their stalks and pulled them close.  Their resiliency was tested in the face of a big storm.

Why I like this book:  Janet Lucy has created an inspiring book for children with many gentle life lessons about staying centered when turbulence is swirling around you, being who you are supposed to be, living in the moment, being present with those we love and being thankful.   These are all concepts children will grasp.  There is so much depth to this story and I had to be careful not to give it away.  With spring around the corner, it is also a story about life cycles, death, and transformation.  Colleen McCarthy-Evans’s watercolor illustrations are exquisite and perfect for the story.

Resources:  Sunflowers are an international symbol of Peace.  Lucy urges children to plant seeds of peace in their gardens.  You only need to visit The Three Sunflowers website to find wonderful resources, activities and a teaching guide to share with children.   I was intrigued with how many virtues are included in this story, all great topics for discussion.

Craig Wiesner at Reach And Teach bookstore says:

“Whenever a new person comes to our shop or meets us at an event, we hand that person an origami butterfly with the phrase “If nothing ever changed, there wouldn’t be butterflies.” Change is constant yet people, more often than not, fear and try to avoid change. Without going into details, our team here at Reach And Teach is looking at some potential changes and we’re both anxious and excited about the possibilities. Fortunately, there are people in our lives who are standing tall, nurturing and guiding us, and letting us know that they are there for us through whatever changes may come.

We recently heard from Janet Lucy, the author of The Three Sunflowers, wondering if we might want to take a look at her book. With our mission of Transforming the World Through Teachable Moments, we know that every time someone opens a book, transformation may soon occur. That’s the case with this book. Beyond the absolutely beautiful softly and gently rendered watercolor illustrations and lyrical and engaging writing style, the story of the sunflowers in the garden is very compelling and grabs you from the very first page. “Dawn awoke early one morning washing the Summer sky in fresh new shades of pink, orange, and lavender.”

We then go through the entire day among the three sunflowers, learning about what is, what was, and what will be, from Gloria, Solita, and Sunny. Things change, from moment to moment, hour to hour, and day to day. Sometimes, even for just a moment, everything is perfect. How wonderful to be in the moment and enjoy that perfection. When storm clouds gather, we have to gather up our strength to weather that storm. It’s OK to be afraid, but hold on tightly and have faith that the storm will end. And… even if it doesn’t, remember that the cycle of life goes on.

This book can be a terrific launching point for discussions about so many topics including the entire circle of life, the reality of death, and even how to deal with bullying. When a Cooper’s Hawk swoops through the garden scaring the little birds away, what can the sunflowers do? Stand tall! Be a stable and calming presence in the midst of chaos. In anti-bullying lessons children are encouraged to become “upstanders” instead of “bystanders.” Imagine asking a child what he or she could do when other children are being bullied, thinking about the sunflowers and how they stood tall, and how a child can add one more element to the situation, the power of his or her voice saying “stop!”

Wow.

In the midst of change, this book landed on our doorstep at just the right moment. And just moments ago someone wandered into our shop and said “I’ve been thinking about you guys and I was wondering…….” Good thing we believe that change can be a good thing, because without it there wouldn’t be any butterflies, or wonderful books!

A beautiful book that will be the start of many wonderful conversations for young and old alike.”

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