Book Review: Perfect Petunias, by Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_perfect_petuniasThis book successfully weaves a metaphor comparing letting go of perfection to growing petunias. Thanks to well-designed dialogue between the main two characters in the book, it leaves the reader with strategies to be willing to do what is within their capabilities instead.

The main characters are Loppy and Curly. We first meet Loppy just as she is giving up writing, declaring herself hopeless. The dialogue is very real and exactly as children speak, ‘I can’t do anything right!’ she exclaims as she stomps away. Children can easily see themselves as the characters through the realistic representations of language and behaviour throughout the book.

Curly is the voice of reason, patiently inviting Loppy to join her in the garden. She waits a long time (as an adult who has spent time with a child feeling frustrated with their need for perfection will relate to!). Curly is a calming presence for Loppy as she explains the metaphor of growing petunias.

Slowly Loppy takes on the calmness which Curly presents and comes to understand that you can’t control everything. Instead she takes a flower to remind herself to focus on trying to be your best self because if you focus on mistakes that is all you’ll see.

This is a heart-warming and charming story told through simple illustrations and clever use of colour (each character has one colour and Loppy’s red and white stripes loops through the pages as the story is told). It is a must for children who are perfectionists and need encouraging to try their best instead.

Reviewed by Sara Croft

Perfect Petunias
by Lynn Jenkins & Kirrili Lonergan
Published by Exisle Books
ISBN 9781925335583

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