Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Stars & Poppy Seeds


Stars & Poppy Seeds / Romana Romanyshyn & Andriy Lesiv
trans. from the Ukrainian by Oksana Lushchevska
London: Tate, 2019, c2014.
32 p.

This gorgeous picture book got me excited about sharing my reading again! I've been reading quite a lot but haven't had the oomph to sit down and write about things. This lovely little book is worth sharing, though. I picked it up because I saw it mentioned in a discussion of Ukrainian books, something I've been spending a lot of my reading time on lately. And fortunately my library system bought a copy! 

It's the story of Flora, a young girl who loves to count. She counts the stars in the sky, the grains of sand in the beach, poppy seeds, polka dots and pearls. She counts everything. The book is a joyous celebration of numbers, counting and astronomy, all together. And the illustrations are so beautiful. The authors are also the founders of Art Studio Agrafka where they've done some gorgeous book work.

The book has a collage style, with a vintage feel. There are many details in the images that I spent time examining. This is the kind of book I would have loved as a child myself - magical, detailed and about stars. And featuring a wonderful female main character. 

There is one page when Flora plays hopscotch with the moon on a string, and she's wearing a dress that is quite similar to a dress I've made myself

And another of my favourite images is when Flora finds herself by a lake and starts wondering about how many drops of water there are in the world -- the text states that she is walking home through a labyrinth of streets, and the illustration feels like a manuscript, showing a classical labyrinth that is properly drawn and 'walkable' with your finger. So wonderful! 

image via Art Studio Agrafka

This book is pretty much perfect for me; it includes math, stars, creative illustrations, Ukrainian writers, and a labyrinth. As you can tell, I was enchanted by it. Recommended if you also love these things!

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