Falling Flowers tells the timeless tale of a young girl, Mayumie, and her grandmother as they take the train into Tokyo to see something special--the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It is a simple plot, as there is no direct conflict except the build up of the child's excitement to see something "more interesting than the zoo or a museum." But it is through this simplicity that the beauty of the story is revealed, for Reed shows the universal bond of love that crosses both generations and cultures, and she illustrates how something so simple can bring together so many. Cole's watercolor illustrations add to this simplicity with his sleek lines, soft colors, and sparse details, making the book a wonderful story of family love. The last page offers more information about Japanese culture with an explanation of how the Japanese celebrate the cherry blossoms and a discussion of the origins of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C.
I used this book with my preschool class to talk about spring and while we were working with the letter J for Japanese Cherry Blossoms. Later I read it to my children at home and they were so interested they asked me if we could go to Washington, DC to see the trees. I'm not so sure that is going to be happening this year but it is something I've never done before. For me to take my children I would need to do a lot more research about it. In this book I liked not only the cultural references, but also seeing the young girl having trouble being patient and pouting about not getting her way. Seeing the girl and her grandmother spending special time together was a nice message too.
Pub. Date: September 2005
Publisher: Shen's Books
Format: Hardcover , 32pp
Age Range: 4 to 8