Celia (Christelle Vallat)

Hello, everyone! Today, we read Celia, written by Christelle Vallat and illustrated by Stéphanie Augusseau, a story about a boy in need and an old woman who listens.

Celia is a listener. Each Sunday, a line of townspeople form at her home, and whisper their concerns and problems and worries. In return for her kindness, they each give her a seed, which she sows into flowers and cupcake frosting and colors come Monday. One Sunday, a little boy named Julian is in line, but finds he has lost his seed! How will he rid himself of his worries if he cannot whisper them to Celia?

This is an English translation of a Belgian picture book, and while the art is very colorful and beautiful, I cannot help but feel that something got lost in the translation of the text. There are definitely metaphors to be found here: on friendship, patience, kindness and optimism, even the value of talking about your troubles instead of bottling them up. In fact, there are so many metaphors that fit together in such complex ways, I was left scratching my head a bit at the end, wondering if the main point of the story had gotten past me. Maybe that’s good thing? It’s definitely one that, for better or worse, you will ponder over after it’s closed. With that in mind, this one may be better suited for slightly older kids; while the length was fine, and the colors were nice, JJ was not overly interested in the story. Still, definitely an interesting book, and one that other readers may enjoy, so Baby Bookworm approved.

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