The Girl Who Cried Flowers and Other Tales Analysis

Jane Yolen

Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Girl Who Cried Flowers and Other Tales contains five short fantasies in which human and mythical characters are linked closely with elemental forces of nature. Each tale is accompanied by full-page and double-page illustrations by David Palladini. Some are black-and-white drawings of the tales’ symbolic characters, objects, and landscapes in bold outlines. In the color illustrations, the predominance of dark earth tones matches the stories’ natural settings and haunting atmosphere, while highlights of brighter color draw attention to significant images—sunlight and sunsets, signal fires, snow and ice, flowers, the faces and figures of characters.

In creating the main character for the title story “The Girl Who Cried Flowers,” Jane Yolen was inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera (c. 1478), a famous Italian Renaissance painting based on classical myths, and by ancient lore about trees inhabited by the spirits of beautiful women. Olivia, found in an olive tree as a baby, becomes a generous woman who cries whenever someone asks for the beautiful flowers that drop from her eyes, until she promises her husband that she will stay happy and never cry. Eventually, her conflicting desires to please both her husband and the townspeople lead to her transformation into an olive tree, which produces olives for her husband to harvest and a magical array of flowers that bloom until his death.

“Dawn-Strider” portrays a...

(The entire section is 470 words.)