Review: Time Is A Flower By Julie Morstad

Is there any doubt that I would be off to grab the newest Julie Morstad book as quickly as possible? It didn’t disappoint. I don’t know how Morstad does it every time. This book is a marvelous story about time with many sidenotes and connections from a very thoughtful and childlike mind. Ponder time along with Time Is A Flower by Julie Morstad, 2021.

Half of a child's face on the left peering up at a cuckoo clock on the right page.

“Time is the tick tick tock
of the
numbers and words
on a calendar.

But what else is time?”

And so the book carries us into the concept of time. It finds time in a seed that turns into a flower and then eventually the flower droops.

A child sits at a table in a pink and black floral shirt holding pencils in their left hand. They are staring at a vase of flowers on the right page with one flower drooping and dropping some petals.

Time is also found in a tree, how it grows in comparison to you over the course of many years. There’s a spider and its delicately made web, a pebble turned mountain, a butterly…

a giant spread of a butterfly with a fuzzy black center, two antennae and wings that are brown, yellow, pink, and light blue.

from a caterpillar.

a tiny green caterpillar on the left page. The right has three black pairs of sunglasses with a sunset showing at different levels inside the lenses.

Sunsets, haircuts, wiggly teeth and face lines, school and waves and dances and baking.

a city scene looking at the top of one building. The left page half is in darkness with a child leaning on the windowsill and yellow light emanating from the window. The right page is in daylight with a child stretching their arms wide in a window.

So many interesting concepts brought to life in stunning images. And it all boils down to questioning what time might actually be. Does the book know the answer? You’ll have to check it out for yourself.

The same window scene on both spreads. Left page shows a window with a giant monstera plant, a smaller plant, and an even smaller pink flower plant on the windowsill. A cat lazily stretches in the sunlit shadow on the floor. The right page same the same scene but in dark inside and the cat sleeping in the moonlit shadow on the floor.

Another masterful book from Julie Morstad. Conceptual books are so much harder to do well than mere narratives. This one is truly excellent, making the studying of time a joy and intriguing. Each idea is interesting and makes you pause to connect it to time.

A bright pink spread with a giant face of a child with closed eyes and bangs holding their mouth open to show one tooth missing in their top row and one tooth incredibly loose from their bottom row of teeth.

As always, Morstad’s illustrations are a wonder. She makes it look so simple and yet the spreads are pure brilliance. One of my very favorites in this book is surprising and also surprisingly impossible to photograph – the spider’s web! It is a tactile experience and a big treat in the midst of the story. Morstad assembles these illustrations from art she created with pencil, markers, colored inks and pastels. I just love them all… and wonder how long it takes her!

The left page is four panels showing a child in a dress and wearing many braids with baking items pouring some white item into a large peach bowl. The next panel is the child holding the bowl on the table. The next is the child kneading the dough in the bowl with both fists and eyes closed. The last is the child waiting for it to rise in the bowl. The right page shows the child peering into the oven and watching bread bake on the top and a bottom image of the child sharing slices of bread with a friend.

Grab Time Is A Flower for your bookshelf. You’ll love it, ponder it, and continue the story yourself with your own discoveries. And I had to close with this illustration, because we should always grab a story or three… books a night!

A man lays out on the floor with many pictures books surrounding him while he reads to three children laying around him and over his head. He is reading The Lonely Ant.

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