Sunday, August 12, 2012


I just returned from an extended vacation out West.  It was fabulous.  But this past week as my children, and I, have struggled to adapt back to "regular" life and the East Coast time zone - my mind keeps going to a picture book that came out this spring - GEM by Holly Hobbie. This past week I have felt a little like the toad darting away from the treads of the moving tire - but I think we have successfully found the side of the road and are back to regular life again.

GEM tells the story of a small toad's spring journey to a child's backyard.  It is a journey full of beauty and adventure but not without obstacles.  Like the giant tire on a car.  Or the huge hawk inches away from snatching him up.  As the child meets the Toad she is faced with the age-old dilemma of how she will define her relationship with this new found friend. Bookending toad's journey lies the story of the author, Gram, and her granddaughter Hope.  The toad's story is silent but the two letters between Grand mother and child add an extra layer of depth and intimacy.

The watercolor paintings, detailed with pen and ink, illuminate spring on a pastel palette. Each page is bordered in white and brings Toad's spring adventure into focus through varying wide and telephoto lenses.  The colors and detailed paintings are simply beautiful.  No matter what season you read this in, it will leave you longing for the unfolding green of spring.

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