With Planting Love: A Tale of Love and Growing, Connie Hunt offers a beautiful, spare story about love’s power to heal. Perfectly illustrated with restrained charm by Charlo Nocete, this small treasure is heartfelt and wise.
Freddie the Ficus was raised by a gentle nurseryman at the Rent-a-Plant Company and is now ready for his first “assignment.” Dropped off at a quiet brownstone with a Porsche parked out front, our optimistic, loving hero is nervous but determined to bring love and life to his new world. Sadly, this home is cold and dark. No one talks to Freddie or gives him enough light and water. Alone in the hallway, deprived of love, his leaves begin to darken and wilt. Finally, the nurseryman is asked to take the dying Freddie away.
Back at the nursery, the old man gently tends to Freddie, hoping to revive the plant’s spirit. One day, he spots a boy staring through the window at the ill plant. The boy is searching for a gift for his mother but has no money. The old man gives the plant to him at no charge, knowing the warm light in the little boy’s eye will heal Freddie. And so it does.
Hunt’s style is poetic and tender, both delicate and thoughtful. It could be read aloud to a child or given as a gift to an adult processing a loss. The illustrations help tell the story by adding amusing details and hints of character. A small quibble is with the book’s format: this story begs to be packaged like the small jewel it is, with a 4 x 4 trim size and a hardcover. As a 6 x 9 paperback, the book is formatted as a traditional early reader, when it is in fact so much more. The book teaches a timeless lesson – love heals all wounds – and thus will appeal to many ages.
Also available in hardcover.