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Holly Hobbie is one of those real life people who has transcended her worldly existence into becoming a fictional icon. This began, of course, with her Holly Hobbbie drawings which in turn became Holly Hobbie and friends — characters whom filled my ever waking thought when I was in preschool through to about second grade. Now as an adult, I have rediscovered Holly Hobbie, the author and illustrator through her more recently published books such as Everything But the Horse and Gem.
Gem is a wordless picture book that is introduced with a letter from "Gram" where she asks her grand-daughter to imagine a spring day adventure, even though it's still the middle of a harsh winter. What follows, all in pictures, is the adventure of a determined toad.
While Everything But the Horse is autobiographical and rather wordy, Gem is just Hobbie's delightful watercolors. They are so intricate and yet whimsical. They capture so perfectly those little moments in a garden. The toad's journey through the garden provides a tour through flower beds, puddles, tall grasses and all number of other scenery.