A Flower is a Friend Reviews

Kirkus Starred Review

“Nature creates marvelous and beneficial partnerships….Beginning with this quietly lovely book’s first spread, blossoms proudly announce themselves in clear, simple prose and describe how they help their friends….A thought-provoking question (“Why would a morning glory be happy to see a dragonfly?”) about a specific flower-creature relationship at the bottom of each page stimulates visual literacy and creative and critical thinking. The remarkable digital illustrations, so photographically, lusciously lifelike that one can almost smell floral aromas wafting from the pages, call for readers’ close scrutiny and attention to detail and suggest answers to the questions. If they don’t bring responses to readers’ minds quickly, the fact-packed backmatter about the flower-creature bonds will do the trick….A garden of gorgeous delights.”

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School Library Journal 

“This appealing work of creative nonfiction introduces readers to symbiotic relationships between flowers and various members of the animal kingdom….Wishinsky’s understated prose strikes a balance between straightforward facts and quiet lyricism, mining interest from simple truths found in the natural world. Patkau achieves striking realism in her mixed-media collage illustrations, from the delicate folds at the center of a pale rose to the blotchy markings on a frog’s smooth skin. VERDICT Young readers will enjoy the accessible tone and engaging illustrations of this scientifically minded book; this is first-rate for browsing shelves or to round-out classroom collections.”

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“This appealing picture book takes viewers on a close-up tour of a garden to meet the flowers and their helpful friends, the insects, spiders, snails, birds, mice, and bats that visit them….Wishinsky’s age-appropriate text talks of friendships between flowers and animals and uses questions to engage her audience. Beginning with the dust jacket’s image of a mouse peeking out of a tulip flower, Patkau’s vibrantly colorful illustrations are eye-catching and helpful. An intriguing picture book on flowers and their friends.”

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Youth Services Book Review Starred Review

“Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5….This stunningly beautiful picture book tells of the relationship between a selection of flowers and some of their pollinators and ‘friends.’ Birds and bugs help the flowers and flowers in turn help the creatures to survive and thrive….The interconnectedness of nature is explained in easy-to-understand descriptions and the colorful illustrations of familiar and not-so-familiar flowers are beautiful to look at….Included in the back are explanations for all the flowers and their ‘friends’ and even an index.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who enjoy or want to learn more about nature and gardening will love this book.

Who should buy this book? Pre-schools, day-cares, and public libraries will want to get this book.

Where would you shelve it? Non-fiction picture books, great to use in a display for spring or summer

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes”

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CM Magazine

“Within the familiar colourful array of blooms in a mixed flower bed lies a wonderful invitation to embrace science….In a dozen examples that encompass morning to night, the symbiosis between flowers and the small creatures that interact with them is shown in delicate, glowing digitally created images. They are paired with minimal text: a verb and noun that describe the relationship (e.g. kiss a butterfly), and a question (e.g. why do butterflies and zinnias love being together?). Pause to consider some reasons, take a guess, explore what you may already know—and simply enjoy the vibrant illustrations. And then turn to the back matter for facts about the biological interactions that keep an ecosystem functioning….There is ample opportunity in this simple book for reader involvement: the questions posed throughout make A Flower is a Friend a gentle interactive exercise, and a double spread flower garden illustration invites a search for the friends of flowers sprinkled among the blossoms. Enjoy both quiet moments with the pictures and the fun of discovery with the text in this thoughtful book. Highly Recommended”

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The International Educator

A Flower Is A Friend by Frieda Wishinsky, art by Karen Patkau is a lovely celebration of flowers….The art invites the reader to study the images closely to discover more animals. The back pages give nonfiction details about each animal mentioned like bats and spiders. A perfect book for nature lovers.”

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CLCD – Children’s Literature

“This quiet, cozy, informative, and beautifully illustrated children’s book explores the relationships between flowers and wildlife. Using sparce, poetic language, the left page describes the things flowers do, like dance in the wind and drink the rain. At the bottom of the page, a question about the relationship between flowers and wildlife is posed. These questions help engage readers, asking them to think critically, and promote conversations…The soft, digital renderings give the book a calm feeling while the vibrant colors attract readers…Perfect for schools and libraries, this fantastic introduction to nature, gardening, and ecosystems will captivate children ages 3 – 6 with its realistic artwork and accessible language.”

Larry Swartz 

“Master nonfiction author Frieda Wishinsky helps readers think about the way that flowers care for those around it….Each page of text features a question that helps readers think about the wonders of nature and the beauty of flowers. Full page, close-up illustrations by award-winning illustrator Karen Patkau are spectacular. In an afterward to the book, succinct information about each of the animals we have met throughout the book. This is a gorgeous gem of a nonfiction title.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

Page after page of glorious digital art….A Flower is a Friend will be a lovely book for teaching STEM with regards to the growth and changes in plants and the interrelationships of living things….Coupled with Karen Patkau’s illustrations, A Flower is a Friend transforms from creative non-fiction to gorgeous coffee table book that any reader would love to peruse.”

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