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A Kirkus Starred Review for Sidewalk Flowers from Groundwood Books

A starred review from Kirkus is a wonderful way to start the New Year!  We love this heartwarming wordless picture book releasing February 23, 2015.

“A child in a red hoodie and a man on a cellphone navigate an urban landscape, the child picking flowers from cracks and crannies along the way.Best known for his nonsense verse, Lawson here provides a poignant, wordless storyline, interpreted by Smith in sequential panels. The opening spread presents the child and (probably) dad walking in a gray urban neighborhood. The child’s hoodie is the only spot of color against the gray wash—except for the dandelions growing next to a sidewalk tree, begging to be picked. The rest of their walk proceeds in similar fashion, occasional hints of color (a fruit stand, glass bottles in a window) joining the child and the flowers she (judging by the haircut) plucks from cr acks in the concrete. Smith’s control of both color and perspective is superb, supporting a beautifully nuanced emotional tone. Though the streets are gray, they are not hostile, and though dad is on the cellphone, he also holds the child’s hand and never exhibits impatience as she stops. Once the child has collected a bouquet, she shares it, placing a few flowers on a dead bird, next to a man sleeping on a bench, in a friendly dog’s collar. As child and dad draw closer to home, color spreads across the pages; there is no narrative climax beyond readers’ sharing of the child’s quiet sense of wonder. Bracketed by beautiful endpapers, this ode to everyday beauty sings sweetly.”

Kirkus Review Issue Date: January 15, 2015 | Online Publish Date: January 3, 2015

sidwalk flowers

JonArno Lawson is a three-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Children’s Poetry, and the author of numerous books for children and adults, including Enjoy It While It Hurts, Down in the Bottom of the Bottom of the Box, and Think Again. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, and has been drawing since an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books and he has received awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepard Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown where he eats too many bahn mi sandwiches and goes to the library or Art Gallery of Ontario on his breaks.

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