Tomorrow's Lily

Image of Tomorrow's Lily
Release Date: 
February 13, 2024
Greenwillow Books
Reviewed by: 

“Pretty lily.

You Bloom for just one day.

You open in the sun,

and close at the moon,

And your lily life is done.”

Tomorrow’s Lily is a short, beautiful poem, written and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschko, that takes the reader through the days of the week as a single, magnificent, short-lived flower blooms on a long-stalked lily plant each day.

After presenting each day of the week separately, the author lists all seven days of the week, reiterating their names and spellings for pre-school and elementary readers and listeners. The author takes us through the blooming of a new lily each day, hinting at the likely fact that it will be wilted or gone by that day’s end.

“Tuesday’s lily blooms for the cat.”

The lilies do not bloom in isolation, shining their light in vain. Each lily blooms for someone–or some reason—and that is what makes its brief life so special.

The story is meaningful in a simple childlike way that is accentuated by the brightly colored, broad-brushed watercolor illustrations that accompany each phrase.

“Just like lilies, we come and we go.

But the memory of lilies lasts forever,

like the memory of friends we know.”

That said, I found myself wishing the story ended with the two-page rhyming conclusion that follows the listing of the days of the week. Instead the book proceeds for nine more pages to explain the story’s metaphorical meaning, which is already conveyed in the book’s first 20 pages with lovely subtlety.

As it is, the ending of the book resembles a children’s sermon reiterating what they should take away from that morning’s lesson. That the rhyme is clumsy and imperfect makes this part of the book seem even more superfluous and likely to bore energetic young children.

Nonetheless, Tomorrow’s Lily is a picture book that young children will enjoy for at least a couple reads. Parents will want to read it to their children more, to engagingly teach them the names (and spellings) of the days of the week. With loving positivity, the first half of the book repeats simple words like “lily,” blooms,” “for” and “the” that even the youngest listeners will grow to recognize. And young children will appreciate the often fingerpaint-like images that adorn the book’s illustrated pages in an “I could do that!” way.

For educational purposes alone, Tomorrow’s Lily is worth purchasing for preschool or elementary classrooms or the young children in your life. The message is also heartfelt and one worth remembering, even as an adult.