The Proud Sunflower

Children - Grade K-3rd
21 Pages
Reviewed on 09/10/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite

The Proud Sunflower, a short story by Ngozi Edema, narrates the tale of Princess Sanzu, the most gorgeous sunflower on earth. All the other flowers adore her for her beauty and her loveable nature. As a kind-hearted flower, she shares her gifts with the birds. She also completes her chores diligently. Eventually, she becomes too self-absorbed and shuns her lifelong friends. Noticing this, the ever-watchful Sun decides to punish her. Stripped of her former glory, Princess Sanzu has to leave her homeland. Alone and friendless, a repentant Sanzu finally realizes her follies. With the help of the Moon, will she be able to restore her position among her friends? To find out, you have to read this amazing story.

The Proud Sunflower is a short and easy read that is suitable for children aged three to seven years. Use of simple words, brightly-colored illustrations, and an engaging storyline make this book appealing to the intended audience. I would commend the illustrator, Swapan Debnath, for capturing the emotions on the characters’ faces perfectly. Sanzu’s changing emotions throughout the story were evident in her expressions and postures. Also, the book has an educational value as it teaches readers to be kind and compassionate. Edema demonstrates why we should never give way to pride and selfishness. Instead of being mean-spirited to our friends and neighbors, we should love them wholeheartedly. The story of Princess Sanzu will impart the sense of friendship and camaraderie to young and impressionable minds. This is a great book that children can read by themselves or parents can read this aloud to them.

Jack Magnus

The Proud Sunflower is an educational picture book for children, grades K-3, written by Ngozi Edema and illustrated by Swapan Depnath. In the Flower Kingdom, there lived a beautiful sunflower. She was a princess, in fact, and her name was Sanzu. All the flowers in the Kingdom loved Sanzu and her family, who were kind and cared about the other flowers. Sanzu’s snacks, oils, and feasts were beloved by all. Then one day Sanzu changed. She acted as though she were better than the other flowers, and she no longer was kind or cared about the other inhabitants of the Flower Kingdom. And being the Princess Sanzu was no longer enough for the haughty sunflower. She declared herself the queen and refused to share her snacks, oils, and feasts with the others. When the sun realized how Sanzu had changed, it was very disappointed with her and decided to teach her a lesson. Sanzu found herself deprived of the sun’s life-giving essence, and she began to wither from the lack of light. Can Sanzu change and regain her role as a loving and generous princess?

Ngozi Edema’s fable, The Proud Sunflower, recasts the biblical proverb of “pride going before a fall” using the Flower Kingdom and nature as a backdrop. I appreciated the author’s use of the sunflower as the royalty in the kingdom, whose bounty includes the plant’s seeds, flowers, and the oils that can be made from the seeds. The role the moon takes in having compassion for Sanzu and trying to intercede with the sun for the fallen princess adds dimension and body to the story. Swapan Depnath’s illustrations are bright and colorful, and they go a long way to making the author’s Flower Kingdom feel real. The artist’s attention to detail and the use of expressions to show the change in attitude evinced by the princess work quite well. The Proud Sunflower is highly recommended.

Sarah Stuart

The Proud Sunflower by Ngozi Edema is set in the Sunflower Kingdom, where Sunflower Princess Sanzu lives. She is very happy and loved by all the other flowers, but this story has a subtle message because Princess Sanzu changes from the girl who treats everyone well and cares about them. She is praised so often that she begins to feel superior. She becomes mean to the other flowers and makes them unhappy, and she becomes nastier even though they tell her she is making them sad. Any child reading or listening to Princess Sanzu’s story cannot fail to see that being unkind to friends will make them lonely. Worse, the Sunflower Kingdom is ruled by the sun, and Princess Sanzu’s bad behavior has made him angry!

The Proud Sunflower is a picture book superbly illustrated by Swapan Depnath, even down to the expressions on the faces of Sunflower Princess Sanzu, assorted colorful flowers, the sun, and the moon. The story, written by Ngozi Edema, provides a meaningful bedtime tale for young children, and it is perfectly presented for older children to read at home or in the classroom. It includes challenging words such as magnificent, wrapped, delicious, and beautiful, but with a little help at first, most are repeated often and would be learned. Best of all, it contains a moral, and it has a happy ending essential for young children’s books if they are to be enjoyed and reread. The Proud Sunflower by Ngozi Edema deserves a place in every child’s library.