BooksForKidsBlog

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Blues Are Best! Sweet Pea Summer by Hazel Mitchell

MOM HAS TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, SO DAD WAS TAKING ME TO GRANDPA AND GRANDMA'S HOUSE FOR SUMMER VACATION.

Strapped into the back seat, hugging her toy rabbit on her lap, the little girl shares snacks and sings with Dad, but she misses her mom more and more as the miles roll by. But in their pleasant little village Grandpa and Grandma welcome her warmly, and a litter of kittens play around her in her cozy bedroom.

And the next day, Grandpa proudly shows off his garden, one with carrots and lettuces coming along, but the girl is drawn straight to the fragrant sweet pea patch, especially the blue ones, the most beautiful of all. Grandpa suggests that if she cares for them well, she can enter them in the town Flower Show. He warns her gently that the blue ones are the hardest to raise. Every day she gently ties the new vines to the poles, pulls weeds, and waters them with Grandpa's secret flower formula. But one sunny morning there's a tragic scene.

ALL THE FLOWER BUDS HAD FALLEN OFF THE SWEET PEAS.

She looks for clues to the problem in Grandad's gardening book. She tries protecting them from chilly nights and shading them during sunny, hot days, and she waters them carefully from the watering can every day. But the new buds continue to fall off before they can bloom. Until one day when Grandpa is spraying his vegetables in the next patch, she gets sprinkled with the icy-cold water from his hose! Aha!

GRANDPA! STOP! STOP!

And with no more icy-cold showers, her sweet peas flourish, especially the blue ones, the prize-winning, only blue sweet peas in the village Flower Show. And that's not the only surprise at the flower show! Her parents are there!

I GAVE THE SWEET PEAS TO MOM!

It's a happy conclusion to Hazel Mitchell's Sweet Pea Summer (Candlewick, 2021), a sweet story of family solidarity with the kindness and gentle care that nurtures both a young child and fragile flowers together. Shown rather than told through author-illustrator Hazel Mitchell's homey pencil and water-color drawings, this lovely picture book portrays a warm and loving family working together to do what good families do, care for each other and their world.

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