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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Did you know there is a flower called the balloon flower? It’s so named because it puffs up like a balloon and then pops open. But can it talk? Alex thinks she hears them talking. Only she’s not quite sure what their “Pop, pop, bop” words mean. She records the sound and changes the speed as she plays it back and believes the flowers are telling her they want to party and fly in the sky. Being the creative little girl she is, Alex finds her father’s helium and manages to inflate the flowers. The first attempt fails, as the flower explodes from the pressure. She tries again and the flowers are puffed just enough to float upwards, that is, after she pulls them, roots and all, from the earth. When invited along for the ride in the sky, of course, Alex agrees. What a wonderful imagination and what a creative journey.
Lois Wickstrom’s picture book story, What Do the Plants Say?, is full of fun, imagination, and creativity, all around the tiny flowers known as balloon flowers. The author makes readers, young and old, really think: perhaps flowers do communicate. They are, after all, living things. And, if they communicate, what are they saying? The plot develops through Alex’s inventive imaginings and the lovely, colorful illustrations help carry the story along. The character of the little girl is developed through her creative ideas and her attempts at communicating with the balloon flowers. This is a fun story that will appeal to young readers and have them talking to the flowers in the garden just like Alex, especially if they’re balloon flowers.