Petunia by Roger Duvoisin

When Petunia finds a book — purportedly an object that will bestow wisdom on anyone who owns and “loves” it, or so she overhears — she decides to make herself wiser by proudly bringing it around everywhere she goes.

Soon, Petunia starts believing in her own foolish hype and proffers (bad) advice to anyone who’ll listen — to their own detriment. Finally, things come to a head when her excess hubris literally blows up in everyone’s faces, and she learns an important lesson: to truly benefit from books, she has to love them right, i.e. put in the effort to read and understand them.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for good advice on bad advice, you’ll do worse than to read and take to heart this timeless, beautifully illustrated and wise little tale! Created in 1950 by prolific award-winning children’s author-illustrator Roger Duvoisin, Petunia is a sympathetic and endearing character who stars in at least seven picture books, although only two remains in print: this, and Petunia, Beware — the latter a delightful and equally astutely-observed sequel that warns against believing that the grass is always greener elsewhere.

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