In a time when a flower is so rare that it is the grand prize of an annual race, Rou’s only wish is to win for her grandma, who is haunted by memories of when flowers were once abundant. But sometimes the real prize is not what’s offered by others, but what we make for ourselves.
A young girl nurtures nature in spite of her surroundings.
Amid towering buildings and next to a lone metallic tree, a robot posts a sign stating “More city coming soon.” In Rou’s steampunk-y city, children compete in an annual footrace for the chance to pluck and keep a rare bloom. Rou is determined to win and present it to her grandmother, who remembers the time when flowers were abundant, before the Power People hoarded them for themselves. During the chaotic race the precious flower is trampled. Rou rescues the sprout and, the following year, creates her own floral tradition in the spirit of sharing. Throughout the book, the dusty rose-colored clothing of Rou and her grandmother echo the vivacity of the blooming flowers and warmly contrast against the stark, lifeless gray of the city landscape. Soft edges and shading, as well as playful details such as Rou’s one-eyed, egg-shaped robot, also lighten the emotional tone. This cautionary tale about urban overdevelopment and inequity also highlights how Rou is empowered through her generosity. Rou has pale peach skin, two black pigtails, and dark brown eyes while Grandma has pale peach skin, gray hair, and curved brown slits beneath her glasses. There is some diversity among the other city dwellers, but most are pale-skinned. Simple but effective.