PPBF: Willow

Today I'm coming to you from Washington D.C. with a question:
 Can one little artist jumpstart the heart of a rigid, long-time Art teacher?
Meet Willow in today's PPBF and prepare to be inspired by the difference she makes in Miss Hawthorne's world.

Title: Willow
Author: Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan
Illustrator: Cyd Moore
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Date: May 1, 2008
Suitable for: K through third grade 
Themes: creativity, kindness, joy 
Brief synopsis:  Miss Hawthorn is pretty particular about her art room. In fact, she's so neat and orderly that not even a hair on her head is out of place. But will things change when a free spirit like Willow breezes in and wafts creativity and kindness her way?

Opening page: 

Even on the sunniest days, Miss Hawthorne's art room was cold and dark.

Everything was in its place.

There wasn't a single broken crayon in the bunch.

The students sat in their rows, silent and still, like eggs in a carton.

Except for Willow.


*Watch the book trailer on You Tube.

*Visit the author's website {here}.
*Read reviews at the illustrator's page {here}.
*Check out the book's comprehensive activity guide written by co-author Rosemary Brannan {here}.

Why I like this book:  My friend Lisa over at Growing Firsties recommended Willow, so I knew it'd be good. But I didn't know I'd fall for Willow like I did. There's a sequel - Willow and the Snow Day Dance - and I can't wait to read it, too. The playfully-soft, eye-catching illustrations really enhance Willow's tale. 

This story holds so much promise because of its message that little people can have a big influence. Remember Dr. Seuss' Grinch and how his heart grew as he changed after talking with little Cindy Lou Who? I think that he'd be an interesting comparison with what Willow does for Miss Hawthorn, whose heart seems to get bigger right before our eyes because of Willow's willingness to march to the beat of her own drum and positively influence others on her path. 

One little girl, one little act of kindness. 

Check out this book; I think you'll be wild about Willow!

Oh, and if you're looking for a creative kindness project, the kind Willow would probably eat up, check out this month's YEP (Yellow Envelope Project) and consider sending a note of encouragement, inspiration, or gratitude to this school secretary with a  of gold.


  1. AAWW! This sounds so heart warming! A real winner. I can't wait to meet Willow. :)

  2. This looks fantastic! And you are the second person to pick a Cyd Moore book today. I don't know this illustrator's work, but you can be sure I will be checking them out. Thanks for an exciting pick.

  3. Barbara! Willow is a personal favorite of mine! And I am blessed to have the author, Denise as sweet, sweet friend! I am going to forward her your post....It will totally make her day! Be sure to check out Denise's website for free printables for each of her books, including Willow!
    Happy Friday!

  4. Great comparison of Willow and the Grinch! This sounds like an empowering story.

  5. This looks lovely, I'm so glad to have seen your post!

  6. I love that Willow's spirit isn't broken by her teacher and she continues to march to her own drum beat. And, I like a rebel who has influence to change even the teacher's heart. Love strong protagonists! Great review!

  7. Willow sounds like my kind of girl!!!! I can't wait to find her book! I've encountered art teachers like Ms Hawthorn. It is not a pretty thing. Thanks for sharing Willow!

  8. I'd love to read this! Unpleasant memories to be obliterated!

  9. I love the sound of this one, Barbara, Willow sounds like the sort of kid one would want in any class.

  10. I think I will definitely be wild about Willow! Thanks for the great review!

  11. This is rather cute and I think the illustrations are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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