3 out of 5
An interesting composite art style and a quirky opening balance out a muddled takeaway.
Mateo is afraid of everything – cats, dogs, going outside – until he discovers the joy of caring for a flower. Sounds pretty silly, but writer / artist Moisés Escudero brings it to life with his colorful, bubbly imagery and an expressive lil’ flower that follows Mateo around the house.
An overreaction to the flower inevitably wilting leads the kid to make some rash decisions with over-watering which…
…Best to leave it there. It’s not quite clear what the message of Escudero’s tale is, but it skips over any real-life connections to the extreme agoraphobia Mateo was suffering earlier. The art remains consistently bright and fascinating throughout, though, with the base seemingly painted over newspaper clippings and an interesting half-etched / half-watercolor look that deepens the image on each page. As has been the case with Sallybooks, it’s possible some translation woes make us lose the thread on this one, but this is a book better appreciated at a surface level.