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Lily's Pesky Plant    by Kirsten Larsen & Judith H. Clarke order for
Lily's Pesky Plant
by Kirsten Larsen
Order:  USA  Can
RH/Disney, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

'When you hear something like the tinkling of little bells ... follow the sound and you'll find Pixie Hollow ... and a great old maple tree with different levels upward and downward - the Home Tree, residence of hundreds of fairies and sparrow men.' Lily's Pesky Plant is one tale from a land of enchantment, featuring a brave, garden-talented fairy, with a friendly smile, sparkling dark eyes, and a garden friend named Bumble, all yellow, round and fuzzy.

Lily's bed-covering is a fern-frond quilt, her wardrobe is made from a dried gourd, and her clothing includes a thistle-down shirt, knickers woven from dandelion fluff, and a yellow petal hat. Her garden is one of the most exquisite in Fairy Haven. The raspberries, assorted wild plants, rosebushes, poppies, Queen Anne's lace, and herbs for healers, grow tall and plentiful, and are shared with others in her community. One of Lily's favorite places is the sweet-clover field, where she lies, looking up at the sky, sometimes closing her eyes, to meditate and watch the blades of grass grow.

Iris has retired and travels, assembling information for a book she is writing about gardens and plants. This sunshiny day, Lily wants to enjoy being by herself. Making excuses to Iris (who just happened to stop by and sits on a toadstool), Lily flies into the forest, landing near 'the roots of an old oak tree'. Where she was standing, Lily discovers a strange seed, like none she has ever seen before, with a cool, smooth surface, and the appearance of a 'sea-polished rock'. Lily plants the seed with encouragement from Iris - 'knowing about plants isn't all there is to gardening ... sometimes you just have to trust your instincts.'

Lily's new plant soon sprouts into an ugly, spotted stem (like chicken pox), with sickly yellow-color leaves. As the plant grows taller and larger, it gives off a terrible stink, and pink pollen that spreads and lands on everything, causing havoc as inhabitants are stricken with sneezing and watery eyes. The 'pesky plant' draws swarms of wasps, adding to the discomfort of all. Even Queen Clarion is affected, and most fairies tell Lily to cut down the 'pesky plant'. What to do wonders Lily, will I have to destroy the plant, which has now started to grow clusters of strange looking fruit?

Kirsten Larsen writes a fine-tuned fairy tale of Lily and her love of plants and gardening, finding beauty in each and every growth, no matter its appearance. Judith Holmes Clarke & The Disney Storybook Artists portray Lily's touch that makes all plantings come alive, in detailed, vivid colors.

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