Friendship and Flowers
Andrew Larsen is a family favourite. In a similar vein to Robert Munch, Andrew Larsen takes everyday life and occurrences and creates these beautiful stories to share. I love how he draws from his own life to share stories sure to become family favourites. In his new picture book Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden with illustrations by Anne Villeneuve (Loula series) we meet Vincent who is spending the summer with his Aunt Mimi in an apartment complex. It’s basically concrete all around him. Luckily he meets Toma and together they help Aunt Mimi get rid of some dirt balls she was gifted. Throwing them into the empty lot outside the complex, they become fast friends and spend the summer eating ice cream, paying wall ball, and avoiding Mr. Grumpypants. Surprisingly, by the end of the summer, there is a beautiful garden sprouting up in the empty lot.
Such a lovely little story about friendship and greening our world. After reading you may want to gather your neighbourhood together and find a greening project to take on, even if it’s just in your own backyard. Prepare some dirt and seed balls with pollinator plants and play a little catch in the neighbourhood park.
Anne Villeneuve creates some wonderful moments in the story with her beautiful, bold illustrations. She made such a wonderful choice to start off the illustrations dreary and dull and very much like a concrete jungle. As Toma and Vincent’s friendship evolves and as the garden blooms, the illustrations become more lively and colourful following the beautification happening in the story. A lovely choice by all involved in getting this picture book to market.