By Trina Paulus
This allegory follows two caterpillars, Stripe and Yellow, on their quest for “more.” Stripe first attempts to find “more” the same way all the other caterpillars seek more: by climbing to the top of the caterpillar pillar. After losing track of time in the continuous struggle to the top, Stripe meets Yellow, and they both agree that maybe the caterpillar pillar isn’t the best way to get more out of life. Quietly and discretely, they return to the ground and while away happy days munching grass. Until they again feel the pull for “more.” Stripe heads back to the caterpillar pillar, but Yellow believes that there must be some alternative. While Stripe valiantly strives up the pillar with renewed vigor, Yellow finds a caterpillar doing something entirely different. This new caterpillar is making a cocoon with the determined faith that giving up what is known will lead to the possibility of realizing a more satisfying life. Nervous and afraid, Yellow decides to take the same leap of faith and discovers that hidden within the caterpillar lies a beautiful butterfly. Yellow then goes to rescue Stripe from the caterpillar pillar, gently guides Stripe to creating a cocoon, and the two of them go on their blissful way in a life full of “more.”
“Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulus is a tale for all ages. The pages are not crowded with words, chapters are short and quick to read, and the illustrations bring the story to life through art on every page. Under the surface of the caterpillar adventures lies the allegory about seeking “more” from life, whether by getting high or defying dominant paradigms on the accepted role and aspirations of a caterpillar. This book offers a moderately subversive yet whimsical narrative on living the life that is waiting for you.
I’m not sure I was in the right frame of mind for reading and appreciating this book. I had heard rave reviews about it, but found myself not quite as inspired (and filled with hope) as others seemed to be after reading it. I tend to prefer books that evoke inspiration through reflection, and I didn’t feel very strongly compelled to reflect on the story while reading it. I enjoyed it on the surface – the illustrations complemented the storyline, I finished the book in one sitting, it promotes revolution – but that was it. Read it if you have a chance (because it is so quick to get through), and maybe you’ll find something more to this book than I did.