STARRED REVIEW
May 21, 2018

A treasure best left undisturbed

By Benjamin Flouw

In this French Canadian import by Benjamin Flouw, we meet a botany-loving Fox who is always looking for new plants to add to his home collection. When he reads about The Golden Glow, a rare mountain plant “from the Wellhidden family,” he decides to hike his way to it.

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In this French Canadian import by Benjamin Flouw, we meet a botany-loving Fox who is always looking for new plants to add to his home collection. When he reads about The Golden Glow, a rare mountain plant “from the Wellhidden family,” he decides to hike his way to it.

First, Flouw shows readers the contents of Fox’s backpack in a spread in which everything is labeled. The Fox sets off on his journey, and along the way he meets other anthropomorphized animals—Bear, Wolf, Marmot and Mountain Goat, but there’s no menace in this forest; all the creatures Fox meets are either friends or family. On his hike, he stops to identify trees and flowers—and even altitudinal zones—in more scientific, detailed spreads.

Fox, with his cheerful determination, is immensely likable. When he finally finds the legendary golden plant, which Flouw illustrates with a flower that almost seems to glow on the page, Fox decides that the “golden glow is more beautiful here on the mountaintop than it ever would be in a vase in his living room.” The angular lines of Flouw’s illustrations are paired with a cool, earth-toned palette—primarily mustards, greens, teals and browns—and some spreads, particularly the spread with the flower, are juxtaposed with softer pinks and yellows. Readers will realize that the joy of Fox’s hike came from his experience of the natural world, even if he chose not to accomplish his original goal of adding the flower to his plant collection. Who could pluck such beauty from the mountain, after all?

Sweet with a subtle environmental message, this is a story that glows.

 

Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.

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The Golden Glow

The Golden Glow

By Benjamin Flouw
Tundra
ISBN 9780735264120

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