Have You Ever Seen a Flower?
by Shawn Harris
Review Copy from Chronicle Books
Part imagination, part meditation, Have You Ever Seen a Flower? could also have been titled, "Have You Ever Been a Flower?" Harris, making his debut as author AND illustrator, does a stunning job recreating the experience of my childhood favorite (and long gone) ride at Disneyland, Adventure Thru Inner Space (presented by Monsanto). And, while nothing can take the place of sitting in that pod-shaped-people-mover car, Harris’ book actually does the ride one better.
First of all, you truly have to hold this book in your hands to experience it. Harris’ textured, oil-pastel-crayon like illustrations (they were made with pencil and colored pencil) employ a neon pink, the vibrancy and energy of which cannot be reproduced in images seen here. Beginning in a grey cityscape, the narrator runs to a car (with a white dog waiting inside) that drives through the city and out into the countryside, the narrator asking, "Have you ever seen a flower? I mean really . . . seen a flower?" Narrated in a way that invites the reader into a meditative, full sensory experience, it is easy to get swept up in the story. Seeing the flower evolves as the narrator notes, "Life is all around you." Inviting readers to put their hands on their belly and say, "This is my stem," the narrator/reader becomes the flower, blooming.
Returning home, circling back to the original question, yet also inviting more introspection and meditation, the narrator asks, "Have you ever been a flower? I mean really been a flower? And if you were . . . would you remember? Try and see."
Have You Ever Seen a Flower? is an unforgettable, a book that is not just read but experienced.
May 3, 2021 at 01:06PM Tanya