'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 1 July 2024

Review: Paper Flower Girl

This exceptional and utterly original book shows what can happen when you don’t follow your heart. 

It is a story about ‘being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.’

It’s always a joy to be surprised – astounded, even - by creative offerings that speak directly to both the head and the heart. 

This book from Dirt Lane Press is one such offering. From the first lines of Paper Flower Girl, there’s a strong, true voice that rings out and compels us to strap in for the ride.

‘Down there

the plain.

 Up there

the hill.’

These opening lines along with a powerful illustration, instantly transport us into a new and spellbinding world. Word by word, image by image, the landscape is laid out for us to traverse.

The Paper Flower Girl makes unique and intricate flowers from paper. When the Giant from the Hill demands that she work for him, her flowers change and are no longer so special. Ultimately, she is cast out of the Giant’s land, and so she goes back to making her unique, intricate flowers but in a way that is even better than before - because now they contain new elements of her experience and expanded soul.

In presenting universal issues that are relevant to so many areas of life today, the merging of written and visual language in this book is sublime. Somehow in Paper Flower GIrl, words paint pictures and pictures convey words.

The narrative brings a poetic sensibility that does not necessarily rhyme but rather sparkles, radiating little tendrils of wonder and contentment along the way. Rhythm, repetition and stunning imagery encourage the reader to think beyond the initial meanings of words.
The artwork, with its changing colour palette and black & white elements, reflects and enhances the narrative mood. It also layers of additional meaning into the story itself by offering unusual tangents and perspectives.

This book will reward re-reading time after time, such is its depth and scope. It comes as no surprise that at the time of writing, Paper Flower Girl is an honour book, shortlisted for CBCA picture book of the year.

It’s not necessarily an easy book, but it is definitely extraordinary.

Highly recommended.

Title: Paper Flower Girl
Author: Margrete Lamond
Illustrator: Mateja Jager
Publisher: Dirt Lane $26.95
Publication Date: 1 October 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780645352399
For Ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book