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BOOK REVIEW: Footpath Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

| 9 November 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Footpath Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Walker Books
June 2016
Paperback, $14.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book




In this wordless, beautifully illustrated picture book from award-winning poet JonArno Lawson, a little girl collects wild flowers while her distracted father pays her – and their surroundings – little attention. Each flower the little girl gathers becomes a gift for a person or animal, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. An ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures, Footpath Flowers is a quiet but powerful testament to the joy that children can find in ordinary things and the mutual value of giving.


In the opening pages of this book, as a little girl goes for a walk with her father, the entire scenery is drab and gray, the only colour that of the girl’s red jacket and some flowers she finds growing through a crack in the footpath. Her father doesn’t notice as she stops to collect any flowers she sees, or as she stops to give them to people and animals she encounters on their walk. 

The reader begins to see colours making their way onto the page, then the background gains a little colour and grows brighter and brighter as the story goes on, until, in the end, the background is full of colours and there are flowers everywhere.


This is a gorgeous story about being aware of the world around you, and bringing a little extra brightness to those you meet as you go about your day. It’s about seeing beauty and looking past the everyday routine, and finding life and hope in what others might see as nothing more than weeds. It’s about not letting the concrete jungle strangle your inner beauty. 

It’s also probably about something that will resonate more strongly with you, dear reader, as these wordless books are open to the individual’s interpretation. “Reading” through it with a child is sure to reveal more to both of you about the way we live than you could have anticipated when first looking through these pages.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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