Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LFB Reviews: Hope for the Flowers

One of my jobs at the Library Friends Bookshop is to sort donated books onto the appropriate shelves. It's a small task, but I really enjoy it because you never know what you are going to find in the donation bin. We get everything from recent bestsellers to thirty-year old textbooks, mint-condition vintage hardcovers to well-loved picture books.

Hope for the Flowers
Available on Amazon Here
I work with people who have such varied tastes in literature that sometimes someone pulls out a beloved favourite that I've never even heard of. Hope for the Flowers (words and pictures by Trina Paulus) was this sort of book.

It's an unassuming little yellow hardcover that has a very seventies look about it (published in 1972 by Paulist Press), and the back cover heralds it as:

a different sort of book for everyone except those who have given up completely (and even they might secretly enjoy it)

I probably would have shelved it under the children's picture books, as that what it looks like; art and colour and a hand-written font throughout. But my coworker recommended it as something everyone should read, and on the front cover it mentions that it is

a tale—partly about life and partly about revolution and lots about hope for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)

I'm not a caterpillar who can read, but I gave it a try.

Hope for the Flowers is a very quick read, about a caterpillar named Stripe who sees a giant tower of other caterpillars climbing to some unknown destination, crawling all over one another to get to the top. None of the caterpillars know why they are climbing, none of them know what's at the top, and at some point the climb becomes nasty. The striped caterpillar meets another caterpillar (Yellow) on his way up and they both decide it's not worth it and climb back down. They fall in love, and spend many days just being in love, always in the shadow of the tower of climbing caterpillars.
Stripe and Yellow in the column (page 32)

Stripe becomes restless, still wanting to know what's at the top...and in spite of Yellow's encouragement to stay, he sets off again, leaving Yellow to make her own way in the world.

Obviously this is a book about life...about the rat-race to succeed and the things we give up in order to reach the summit, and even thought it's 45 years old, it's a book that's just as relevant today as it was when it was written. It's so easy to look at someone else, see them running in an unknown direction, and think, "Why are they running that way? Shouldn't I be running that way too?". You see it at theme parks and at businesses, a large group of people hurrying toward an unknown destination is like a magnet. None of us want to miss an opportunity to experience something extraordinary.

But just like Stripe, we have to be aware of our own motivations, and stay true to who we are. Stripe, as a caterpillar, has no idea why he wants to be up in the sky...and his character suffers as a result. Often if we are patient and observant, we can figure out a better way.

This little yellow book was a pleasant surprise in the donations pile. I'm so happy I got to read it. I'll be taking it back, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because this is a book to be shared, and loved and passed along.

Total Keeper (10) to Back to the Library Friends Bookshop Post-Haste (1)?

10/10. You should come to the LFB and buy it. 


Brenda






2 comments:

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