Lulu Loves Flowers - Reviews
Early Years Educator magazine
...this is a lovely story of learning, sharing, enjoying creation friendship and fun. It is a perfect resource to subtly encourage positive messages around cultural diversity too... one of those resources to have within your continuous provision to support children's positive attitudes around difference.
The Guardian - Family Book Reviews
Reviewed by Katherine & Magnus (aged 3)
Lulu loves Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary and decides to grow her own flowers next to her mummy’s vegetables. This lovely story describes how Lulu gets books out from the library to find out more about flowers, plants them and waits for them to grow. It’s a great inclusive book that shows children doing the everyday things they find wonder in and young readers can really relate to what’s happening. We also loved that Lulu uses her library to find out more about flowers. Highly recommended for all little gardeners!
Playing by the Book review site
Lulu Loves Flowers is perfect in every way. That’s all you really need to know. It’s that simple.
It’s the tale of a young child who plants some seeds and watches them grow. This in itself isn’t ground-breaking; there are plenty of other lovely books out there that have the same basic premise, but this one just does it so well, so delightfully, so cleverly it’s become my number one book for gardening with kids.
First up, there’s the fact that Lulu gets her inspiration for her garden from books.
Poetry is what kicks it all off, but then she uses non-fiction books to learn more. You can see how this matches Playing by the book’s ethos so perfectly – with ideas coming from books, sparking more reading of books, embedding stories and ideas into each of our lives. One example of this which I especially love is depicted in the end pages of this book, where first you get the original version of the nursery rhyme ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’ but at the end of the book you get a re-written version, Lulu’s version. Lulu has taken the poem and really made it her own.
Next I love this book because it’s about something completely unrelated to diversity (it is not an “issues” book), and yet it does wonders for inclusion.
In a way it saddens me that simply depicting a non-white family doing something as ordinary as gardening is radical. But mostly I’m delighted to see a family (who just happen to be black) doing ordinary family things together.
And yes, I love this book because its about doing things together as a family; getting crafty, getting creative, Dad included! Going these projects isn’t difficult, and any effort involved is more than repaid through the joy of the time and experiences shared.
Beardshaw’s painting illustrations are full of colour without ever being garish. She’s got a real eye for clothing, and I just love how she’s captured Lulu’s curly hair. On one level that’s such a small thing, but on another I feel it really shows an authenticity in her illustrations.
I think the scene above is extra special. Last year the School Library Journal published a fascinating article about research showing How Cross-Racial Scenes in Picture Books Build Acceptance. Although the stats are based on the US picture book market, they still speak volumes elsewhere in the world:
Fewer than 10 percent of books published in 2013 featured children of color, according to statistics gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Books Center.
Even more rare are the picture books that depict children making positive connections across racial differences. This absence sends a subtle message to children, as if we were telling them, “It’s okay to only play with children who are like you” or that “children like you don’t play with children who are racially different from you.”
In a study investigating how kids respond to cross-racial depictions in picture books, Aronson and her colleagues randomly assigned children to two groups. The first group was read books that depicted children from different races playing together and having fun. The second group was read similar books, but with children from only one racial group.
After six weeks, they found that children in the first group reported greater comfort and interest in playing across difference than children in the second group. Perhaps even more importantly, the first group reported that these positive attitudes remained three months after the study was completed.
We NEED more books like Lulu Loves Flowers, not just so black kids can see themselves in picture books but also so that kids who aren’t black can see them too, and can see kids, people getting on whatever their skin colour. Lulu Loves Flowers is a book for everyone, and should not be shelved only with the “Diverse/inclusive books”.
Lulu Loves Flowers is the latest of several books Anna McQuinn has written about this family. All are joyous, full of smiles, reflecting everyday experiences of young children and highlighting things that really matter – not only but especially – with little ones: Spending time together, reading and sharing stories. If you’ve live or work with kids under 5 I think they should form an essential part of your library.
Although Lulu Loves Flowers may be mostly aimed at younger kids, my 10 year old wanted to make her own garden to go with the book, using bell charms (we got ours from this etsy seller) and a fabulous bookish planter we found in the local junk shop.
There’s nothing like making a miniature fairy garden!
We also thought about a crafty project which younger kids could easily do too and came up with the idea of making silver bells for our garden out of old yoghurt pots. Using acrylic paint we first coated our clean pots in silver and when dry we drizzled them with PVA glue and sprinkled glitter over them. (Acrylic is a good paint to use on yoghurt pots as it sticks better to the plastic. If you’ve access to lots of cardboard egg boxes you could also use them to make bells, and then poster paint would work fine.) We hung our bells up in our cherry tree, in the hope that the movement and sparkle will keep the pigeons from eating our fruit (yes, we live optimistically!). I wonder if we’ll end up keeping the pigeons away by attracting lots of magpies instead!**
Playing by the Book had lots more ideas inspired by Lulu Love Flowers (how thrilling is it to read about how much the book inspired so much) - to read more, click here to read the original review and all the wonderful ideas.
**update update. Zoe credited Lulu with her bumper crop of cherries this year. All down to the silver bells it seems!
Children's Books Ireland - reviews
The Lulu books always contain references to stories, and Lulu Loves Flowers is no exception. Little Lulu, inspired by the nursery rhyme ‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary’, goes to the library and chooses a book to tell her how to plant and grow flowers. After buying and planting the seeds she busies herself making decorations to add to her garden. The story has a surprise ending with a new story/poem about Mary, Mary. The picturebook is beautifully topped and tailed by rhyme.
The publishers Alanna Books pride themselves on producing books for everyone and this story certainly has a multicultural flavour. Anna McQuinn writes a good story with action on every page to keep a young child’s attention. The illustrations are warm and cosy, and bright colours are used without being gaudy. The story encourages further activities for children – planting their own seeds and watching the plants grow as well as developing craft skills.
It is no surprise the author is a librarian as this book encourages further exploration by the child to look at more books for stories and information about the world around us. This is an absolutely delightful and cleverly written book for any young child harbouring a love of books, searching for new information and developing creative skills. A perfect book for any adult caring or working with young children.
ooks for Keeps 5-star review and Book-of-the-Week
This is the fourth adventure for this delightful little girl... here she’s outside too, inspired by her favourite nursery rhyme Mary, Mary, to grow a flower garden. Lulu finds helpful books in the library, makes a list of what to buy with Mum, buys the seeds, plants them, and then waits for them to grow. The waiting isn’t easy for this bouncy little girl, but she finds lots to fill her time. When the flowers bloom, Lulu celebrates with a party for her friends.
From the opening spread which shows Lulu sharing a book of garden poems with her mum, the book exudes warmth. Anna McQuinn’s stories of Lulu are authentic, and totally in tune with young children’s lives – the interior as well as the external – and Rosalind Beardshaw’s expressive illustrations complement the text perfectly... Later she will invent stories for the little Mary Mary and act them out with her friends: in fact the book provides a wonderful source of ideas for indoor and outdoor activities for pre-school children. What will Lulu think of next asks the final spread – we can’t wait to find out! A wonderful book to share.
Library Mice Book Blogger
Summer is a great time to get kids involved in helping out in the garden, might it be weeding, picking fruit or vegetables or anything else. In this gorgeous latest Lulu story, little Lulu decides she wants to grow flowers of her own and sets to do just what. In this series Anna McQuinn always puts book, libraries and reading aloud at the heart of what makes children tick; this is utterly wonderful, and especially here, with the reading of non-fiction is promoted.
With gorgeous heartwarming artwork by Rosalind Beardshaw, little readers will undoubtedly want to put their wellies on, and start working on their garden patch straight away.
Mirrors Windows Doors - review site
Fans of the adorable Lulu series may at first glance think that the new Lulu Loves Flowers marks a new departure for Lulu from the book-oriented earlier titles but of course, books are so integral to Lulu’s life that it is, in fact, Lulu’s favourite rhyme from a book of garden poems ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’ that inspires her to plant a garden of her own; and a trip to the library provides her with books to help her decide which flowers she wants to plant. Mummy helps her buy and then plant the seeds. It takes a long time for her flowers to grow and it’s hard to be patient, but Lulu has plenty to keep her occupied while she’s waiting: she makes her own flower book, including a copy of the nursery rhyme (which is also included inside the front cover of the book). She strings bells, finds shells, and even makes her own Mary. I love that Lulu has made Mary look like her (in so far as a wooden-spoon doll can look like anyone) with dark-coloured skin and thick black hair.
Eventually her flowers grow and what a display! Lulu Loves Flowers is an affirming book for young children: Lulu is very much in charge all the way through. Her parents help her but they don’t lead. And not just at home: at the garden centre, Lulu receives her purchase of seeds from the hands of the shopkeeper, while Mummy stands behind holding the shopping list – we don’t see their faces because the illustration is focused on Lulu.
Lulu Loves Flowers is a gentle story, beautifully crafted and illustrated, about a little girl spending time on a project and reaping the rewards of commitment and patience. At the very end, Lulu makes up a new story for her friends about Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, and the rear endpaper provides a new version of the rhyme, ‘Lulu, Lulu, Quite Extraordinary’ about her garden. I’m sure the book will inspire lots of young children to start a garden project, not to mention making their own stories and rhymes.
Annie Everall - Children's Librarian
I love the newest Lulu, its just gorgeous and the seeds have been planted in my garden and will send you pictures when they flower :)
One look at this book's joyful cover will be enough to convince you that spring is on the way, and there's no better time to dive out into the garden and start planning what to plant and where to plant it.
Adorable Lulu loves getting out into the garden with her mum, and we share her enjoyment as Lulu is given her own crop of seeds and starts planting them, watering them and weeding around them.
Be patient Lulu, because when the sun begins to shine, those little seedlings can turn into something quite spectacular! Encouraging children to have a go and grow their own flowers, fruit and vegetables is a simple thing we can all do and we just loved how celebratory the Lulu books are about something that takes a little effort and perhaps a little bit of a wait, but reaps such amazing rewards (unless you're me, I am so not green fingered in any way but thankfully Mummy and Charlotte are!)
Join in with the fun with Lulu, she's our kinda gal!
Charlotte's best bit: Wonderful wonderful sunflowers explode into life to reward Lulu for her efforts! Hooray!
Daddy's Favourite bit: An adorable little girl growing her own flowers for the first time in a simple but really enjoyable story from Anna and Rosalind. Superb!
Red Reading Hub - review site
The adorable Lulu is back with a book-inspired activity: this time she wants to be like Mary Mary in her favourite poem from the garden poems anthology.
So, armed with library books on gardening, and help from her Mummy with the buying and planting of seeds, her garden is under way. Though of course those flowers won’t grow up overnight, so in the meantime Lulu decides to make her own flower book, string some shells and beads and make a little Mary Mary character of her own. Then one warm, sunny day, joy of joys, her flowers have opened to greet the sun.
Time to hang up those shiny bells, Lulu, before your friends come round to see that special garden and to share some of the produce.
Absolutely charming – both words and pictures are full of warmth; and as always Lulu is such a good advocate for books and libraries. Would that every young child had parents like her ready to encourage and support all those activities that are so important for young children – reading, writing, growing things and developing their creativity.
Armadillo - Children's Magazine
Alanna Books send the loveliest goodies, Lulu Loves Flowers gorgeous story inspired my to plant the seeds you sent!
Lulu Loves Flowers by Anna McQuin and Rosalind Beardshaw (Alanna Books) continues the highly popular Lulu series introducing children to important concepts in a simple and effective manner. Hopefully it will inspire many beautiful gardens!
Magpie That - Children's Book Review Site
Inspired by her book of poems, Lulu sets out to make a flower garden like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. Lulu picks the seeds she wants and waits for the flowers to grow. Her mum and dad help her with the project. Dad helps her hang shells over the flower bed and mum helps her make a flower sketch book.
The book is a nice introduction to living things that children can create in the space available to them. It can also be used as a good starting point to discuss how plants reproduce, and the different parts that make up a flower.
Why not read this book to your little ones and then take them to the garden centre and create your very own flower garden.
Reviews on Goodreads
The illustrations in this book are just PRECIOUS! I love them! The story is sweet, too- I like the fact that Lola was so interested in something she read that she wanted to act on it, and it's fun to see stories where families work together on something (in this case, planting a garden!) - Jessi
I love Lola so much! - Lindsay
Absolutely loved this simple story with charming illustrations. Lola and her mother plant a flower garden and make their own book because Lola loves the nursery rhyme " Mary, Mary". This book is great for teaching sequencing and inspiring creativity. You'll love the finished garden. - Wendy