Gayle Plummer of Raymond recently published her first children’s book, “The Flower Patch Pals,” an interactive story regarding six flower characters who teach the young reader about making good life choices, being kind and accepting others as well as ourselves.
The six characters include Polly Pansy, Benny the Bachelor Button, Rita Rose, Hollis Hollyhock, Zelda Zinnia and Willey the Woolley Thyme. While teaching the young reader to be caring, the flower characters also provide playful entertainment while also providing “how to” gardening instructions. The reader will find fun little projects at the end of the book to encourage the child to plant their favorite flower, either in a little patch of ground or in flower pots.
The concept of “The Flower Patch Pals”, published by North Country Press in Unity, ME and illustrated by her sister, Sheila Young from New Hampshire, had been simmering in the back of Plummer’s mind for a while.
“I actually outlined the book about nine years ago,” explained Plummer. “One of my grandsons, who was pretty young at the time, used to sit in the garden under the taller plants. It was obvious that all of his senses were engaged; he would gently touch the plants and “really” look at them. It seemed he was sitting in this mystical, other garden world…I could see it with him. It all just hit me as a total visual package; like a bolt of lightning. So, I started writing. And I was hoping that if the kids could relate to the little flowers with faces and names, that they may be inspired to plant. As I wrote, the little flowers seemed to have a few ‘behavior’ challenges, as we all do while we grow, and I wanted the plants to demonstrate the art of making good choices about helping others and caring about the feelings of others.”
In addition to teaching the young child how to be kind and provide fun gardening instructions and hands-on experiences, Plummer wanted to also provide something else for her readers that she believes is important. “To be honest, kids aren’t kids very long anymore and I loved trying to capture a bit of whimsy about something as ordinary as a garden; maybe making it a bit magical – to retain childhood for a bit longer,” she said.
Plummer plans to continue with the mission of preserving the whimsy of childhood, as she prepares to publish her second children’s book. “It is a story based on true events about a horse called Sonny (he was ours when I was little) and his special bond with a man (my Dad) who trains him and the challenges Sonny faces,” Plummer explained. “The story is told from the horse’s point of view and will be titled, ‘Sonny the Dancing Horse and His Best Friend Sam’.”
Plummer stated that her next book will be out some time next year. Until then, you can read “The Flower Patch Pals” now, as it is currently available at the Windham, Bridgton and Casco libraries. “Each of those libraries also has a handcrafted, miniature greenhouse and garden display that corresponds to the book,” Plummer stated. Other surrounding libraries will also be carrying her book soon.
If you wish to purchase the book for your own home library, the book is not only available on the publisher’s website at , but also at the following bookstores and businesses: The Good Life Market, Kindred Farms, Bittersweet Barn, Bridgton Books, Sherman’s Book Stores (at all 6 locations along the coast), Amazon and Barnes & Noble.