Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hana in the Time of the Tulips, by Deborah Noyes

In the 17th century, Holland was beholden with tulipomania. Little Hana doesn't understand why there is such a fuss over the pretty flowers or how something that is so beautiful can make her father so unhappy. But she does know that father is very unhappy and she asks everyone around her for help in making Dad feel better.

A bit of a departure for me, but this lovely children's picture book tells a touching and timeless story of a girl reaching out to her father to remind him that the most precious things are not reaches or "means" but the flowers we cultivate in our families. The story is augmented by absolutely charming illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, based loosely on Rembrandt and other contemporary Dutch masters. The text can get a bit thick for younger readers and it may be a bit gratuitous to cast Rembrandt in a guest role, but this is a beautiful book.

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