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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Golden Glow, written and illustrated by Benjamin Flouw. Translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou. Tundra, Penguin Random House. 2018. $21.00 ages 5 and up

"The sun isn't even up yet, but Fox is ready! He has a long day's walk ahead of him. With his trusty compass and map in hand, there's no danger that he'll get lost. The forest is quiet and peaceful first thing in the morning. Only a few birds are awake ... " 

Fox is a collector, always on the lookout for a new plant. He reads old botany books and field guides while at leisure, and with pleasure. A missing bit of artwork piques his interest and leads to a new quest.

"The golden glow is a plant form the Wellhidden family. It is very rare and only grows high in the mountains. No specimen has ever been described."

A challenge? Yes, it is!

Gathering up everything he will need while he searches, Fox is off to the mountains in the very early morning. He keeps a careful watch as he goes, always on the lookout for something unfamiliar. Sadly, every plant is known to him. Along the way, he meets his friends Bear and Wolf. Neither can help with his search, but both have advice to give. Bear suggests that Marmot might know; Wolf says he can help find the elusive Marmot.

Wolf leads the way. As they go, Fox names every flower they see. Finally, Wolf whistles and Marmot appears. Marmot suggests it will take a hike to the top of the mountain to find the elusive plant. Fox is up to the challenge. Mountain Goat does his best to deter Fox from the harsh journey. On he goes. Upon arrival at the summit, Fox sees nothing of interest. It isn't until he settles in to watch the sunset that his paw brushes against something very special. Amazed, Fox does exactly what you would expect a skilled botanist to do!

In a mixture of digital painting and hand-painted textures, Mr. Flouw designs both single and double page spreads that are warm and rich in color, offering readers many details sure to absorb their interest and move them from one page to the next.  The 'golden glow' is as dazzling as one might expect of a member of the Wellhidden family. Little ones are sure to be impressed. I really appreciated many of the spreads and the way in which he depicted the day as it passed from early dawn to late evening. Marvelous!                      

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