Anne Booth and Robyn Wilson-Owen
Beneath the window of a large house grows a beautiful flower and every morning as they walk to school with their mum, a brother and sister stop briefly by the flower. The little girl would go up close to savour its beauty with her eyes and nose and address it thus, “Good morning, beautiful flower … I think you’re wonderful. Thank you for being here for us. I love you.” She’d then proceed happily into school.
This went on until one morning having woken earlier than usual the man living in the big house saw what was happening and shouted threateningly at the girl and her brother.
Consequently they decided to change their route to school.
Next morning although the sun came out, the flower didn’t. The poor gardener is blamed for improper watering and the man does the job instead – but still the flower stays closed.
Perhaps it’s shade the flower needs the angry man thinks but again it fails to make a difference. No matter what he does or says the flower remains firmly shut and increasingly droopy.
Totally exasperated and full of complaints, the man calls his gardener again. Despite not knowing what the matter is, the gardener is observant and tells the man exactly what the little girl had done every day.
Finally after consideration, the man goes to the school gate, waits for the girl and her brother and tells them tearfully what has happened.
The little girl offers him some advice and the man rushes home. Instead of self-centred, self-interested orders, can kind, heartfelt words succeed in making his flower bloom again?
With echoes of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, Anne Booth’s ultimately uplifting fable demonstrates the power of words and the importance of considering carefully how what you say will impact upon others: positivity is key.
Robyn Wilson Owen’s finely textured, mixed media illustrations show the contrast between the children’s nurturing home environment and that of the man’s lonely existence as well as documenting the changes in the flower through the story.