Mae, a young girl who moves to the city, desperately misses her garden in Florette, a quiet but thoroughly lovely picture book by Australian author-illustrator Anna Walker. Mae tries to make the best of her new apartment by drawing flowers, birds and trees on the moving boxes that fill her room. She draws chalk butterflies on the pavement outside, but the rain washes her creations away.
One day, a bird leads her to a store window filled with a lush ocean of greenery. Although the store is closed, a tiny sprout grows through a crack in the nearby sidewalk. Mae takes the sprout home, eventually starting her own little garden in a jar. That one sprout is all it takes for Mae’s new world to blossom, as Walker’s greenery-filled watercolors beautifully show.
Walker marries text and illustrations particularly well, using words sparingly while showing how Mae’s world fills with new plants as well as new friends. She was inspired to create this book during a family vacation in Paris, and although Paris is never mentioned, its scenes are distinctly Parisian. “We were on our way to The Louvre when I noticed a shop window full of plants,” Walker notes on her website. “We rushed by, but I kept thinking about that forest behind the glass.”
Florette is a wonderful story about nature in the city that thoughtfully addresses the difficulties and necessity of adapting to change.