Have You Ever Seen A Flower?

Have You Ever Seen A Flower?
Shawn Harris
Chronicle Books

This a visual feast if ever there was one. It begins in an intricately constructed city in which the only thing of colour is a small girl with rainbow tresses dashing out through a door where a car awaits within which is a terrier.

As the car moves out of the city, the dreary greyness turns first white and then explodes into a riot of colour, till the car stops.

We next see the child, her joy palpable, surrounded by fields alive with fluorescent flowers. She stops, stoops and, breathing deeply, imbibes the beauty of a single bloom and in so doing has an existential experience of complete connectedness: it’s as though she and the flower become a unified life force.

All the while, the text invites readers to ponder such questions as ‘Have you ever seen a flower using nothing but your nose? Breathe deep … what do you see?’ … “Have you ever seen a flower so deep you had to shout HELLO and listen for an echo just to know how deep it goes?’

We share the child’s exhilaration as she clutches a plucked wildflower, before herself becoming transformed into a flower.

There’s much to contemplate and reflect upon in what is, for both child and reader, a wonder-filled transformational journey into consciousness itself.

An exciting debut for Shawn Harris as author/illustrator. With their changing perspective and focus, his colour pencil illustrations are mesmerising, the playful narrative rich in metaphor with occasional alliteration and assonance. Who can resist its urgent intensity?

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