Family and Me! / Wildflower

Family and Me!
Michaela Dias-Hayes
Owlet Press

What a gorgeous celebration of herself, her family and her heritage, the little girl narrator of this rhyming book shares with readers. Feature by feature she presents key parts of herself starting with her eyes – these are just like her mum’s eyes, caring and true; her nose is similar to the beautiful one her Nanny has, which she puts to good use when they cook together . 

From grandad comes her glowing skin, from her aunt dazzling hair to crown her super sense of fashion. Her dad has passed on his super smile and cheeky expression, 

uncle his gentle touch and love of creating art, she has her grandma’s finely tuned ears whereas with his amazing dance moves, Grandpa has passed on his joyful sense of movement and ever dancing feet. 

Thus we see this little girl has dual heritage and she goes on to show off her framed portraits of her Mum’s family that make one half of her and her Dad’s, which provide the other half. How wonderful to celebrate such a super family – nine individuals (plus pets) – who so clearly love one another dearly.
That love shines forth from every single one of Michaela’s gorgeous warm illustrations is so evident and the shared tenderness between adults and child is unmistakeable throughout.

Wildflower
Melanie Brown and Sara Gillingham
Greystone Kids

Newly in bloom, Daisy is happy in her sunny spot in the garden. However her happiness is short-lived thanks to Rose’s hurtful words, “My mama says you’re just a weed, and you don’t belong here.” Poor Daisy’s petals droop even further each time another flower tells her she’s a weed. Sage says that she is a chef’s best friend, Sunflower towers over the garden and has seeds that are good to eat, 

Chamomile makes soothing tea that helps people sleep, and Strawberry Flower produces sweet, juicy fruits to feed people. Then, Sweet Pea shares the information that like Daisy, she wasn’t planted; she too was blown in by the wind and is sometimes called a weed. Up chimes Blackberry Vine imparting the news that despite the delicious fruits she produces, she also gets called a weed. Moreover Dandelion’s seeds are windborne but she calls herself a wild flower that grows wherever the wind drops a seed. 

By now, Daisy’s self belief has been restored. Finally there grows a Milkweed flower, meek and mild; this one introduces itself as a weed but Daisy is ready to speak out against Rose, giving her vital information, “Every plant I met today has something special about them to be proud of, no matter what you may call them.” She also warmly welcomes the newcomer to the garden they all share.

The ‘believe in yourself and love yourself exactly as you are’ and ‘stand up for others against prejudice’ messages are engagingly conveyed for young children in this beautifully simple story where words and pictures work in harmony.

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