Growing Season (Maryann Cocca-Leffler)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Growing Season by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, a sweet tale of friendship and flowers.

El and Jo are the best of friends. The smallest kids in their class, they find that when together, they’re just the right size: the right size for their cozy little desks, and for sharing the reading chair, and for helping each other reach the high places. But when spring comes, Jo suddenly sprouts a few inches… and now El is all alone in being small. When class ends for the year, the students each choose one of the flowers they’ve grown to take home and care for over the summer. All the other kids reach over El to pick the ones with lovely blossoms, leaving her with a spiny little green aster. Jo offers her colorful zinnias (she’ll be traveling over summer), and El plants them side-by-side in the garden , “so they can be best friends”. All summer long, El tends the flowers while she and Jo write letters back and forth, and when summer ends, the girls are ecstatic to be reunited. Rushing to check on their flowers, they find that the slow-blooming aster has finally revealed stunning purple blossoms, and looking at each other, they come to realize that the flowers are not the only things that have grown.

A lovely, gentle tale of female friendship. Framing a spring and summer of growth around the plants, Cocca-Leffler deftly weaves in themes of feeling inadequate, how friendships can change and evolve as we grow, and having patience with ourselves with a great sense of subtlety and softness. Her delicate, spring-colored illustrations fit perfect with both these themes and the story, and allow Jo and El especially to show a lot of emotion in an expression or a pose. Backmatter features a short look at the different life cycles of plants, the length is great for any age, and JJ really liked it. A wonderful reminder that, while it may take a little longer sometimes, we are all meant to bloom. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this books was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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