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Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite
The Flower in the City is an interactive children’s novel that serves as both coloring book and storybook. Author Donyell Arkeva Tillis has put together a unique combination of storytelling and drawing that should be perfect for imaginative children! The story opens with an old man and his wife who live outside the city and love to plant things. After each page, the book provides a blank, open section for a child to color in or jot down their own ideas or impressions of the story so far. In that way, the children become their own illustrator of sorts, and the book becomes uniquely their own through this experience. The book moves on as the old man in the story receives some secret seeds from a shopkeeper, and the problem that ensues from this interaction leads the old man on a quest. This is a cute little story that ends on a happy note, and it should be educational for the young reader in many ways.
What I enjoyed most about The Flower in the City was the story itself, the unique ability for children to interact with the book, and the colorful chapter changes. The book does not get boring, as author Donyell Arkeva Tillis suggests prompts for each page through the story itself, guiding children but not telling them exactly what to do with their own drawings. It’s interesting that the story is about sprouting seeds, when that is the basis of the book’s overall idea — children will learn to sprout their own seeds or story images as they move through the book, coloring in and imagining. I recommend this interactive book for all young children and believe it will be beneficial for both learning to read and learning to take concepts and translate them to images and ideas.