Position:Home > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Chrysanthemum


Press:Harpercollins Greenwillow Books (September 16, 1991)
Publication Date:1991-9
Author Name:Henkes, Kevin


Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Kitten's First Full Moon, Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round. 
Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school.
"You're named after a flower!" teases Victoria.
"Let's smell her," says Jo.
Chrysanthemum wilts.
What will it take to make her blossom again?This popular picture book has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association.
"Perfectly executed in words and illustration, Chrysanthemum exemplifies Henkes's talent for creating true picture stories for young audiences."—The Horn BookSupports the Common Core State Standards

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-- She was a perfect baby, and her doting parents chose a name to match, Chrysanthemum. 
She is proud of her musical name until kindergarten, when she finds herself in a world of strange new names such as Sue, Bill, Max, Sam, and Joe--in short ( really short) a world of ordinary monikers.
That wouldn't be so bad if the others--like Victoria--hadn't made a mean-spirited game of tormenting her, sending her home in tears to be comforted with cuddles and Parcheesi.
Wisely, Chrysanthemum's concerned and loving parents try not to interfere, but what can't be put right by them is dealt with by lucky chance.
The class learns that their popular music teacher not only has a whopper of a name herself--Delphinium--but also plans to name her expected baby by the prettiest name she has heard, Chrysanthemum.
The charming mouse with her delicate little face seems just right for her name.
The range of expression and emotion Henkes conveys in his pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are "absolutely perfect." The impressionistic floral backdrops and patterning reinforce the story's lighthearted, yet tender theme.
This sensitive story will strike a chord with young children, particularly those who also have difficult or unfamiliar names.
--Joan McGrath, Education Centre Library, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaCopyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

With perfect trust in her doting parents, Chrysanthemum (a mouse) knows that her name is, as they tell her, ``absolutely perfect''--until she goes to school and is teased about it by her classmates, especially the imperious Victoria. 
Doubt sets in, to be allayed each night by ``hugs and kisses and Parcheesi,'' but then reintroduced next day.
Fortunately, a charismatic music teacher whose name happens to be Delphinium makes flower names a new fad.
The ending here is preposterously tidy, contributing to the humor of a warmhearted story that celebrates the security of a happy family while gently satirizing its members.
Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight.
Another winner from this perceptive artist.
(Picture book.
4-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.


"Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight." -- Kirkus Reviews (pointered review)"Chrysanthemum exemplifies Henkes's talent for creating true picture stories for young audiences.""-- The Horn Book "(starred review)

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.

From the Back Cover

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. 
When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name.
And then she started school.
"I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria.
"You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted.
Life at school didn't improve.
In fact, it got worse.
Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs.
Delphinium Twinkle.
And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the award-winning creator of many books for children, including the Caldecott Medal Book Kitten’s First Full Moon, the Caldecott and Geisel Honor Book Waiting, the Newbery Honor Books The Year of Billy Miller and Olive’s Ocean, and several bestselling books about mice, including Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum. 
www.kevinhenkes.comKevin Henkes is the award-winning creator of many books for children, including the Caldecott Medal Book Kitten’s First Full Moon, the Caldecott and Geisel Honor Book Waiting, the Newbery Honor Books The Year of Billy Miller and Olive’s Ocean, and several bestselling books about mice, including Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum.

From AudioFile

With talented readers, original musical  and realistic sound effects, Weston Woods Studios elevates the read-along to a new height. 
This studio production of a celebrated and award-winning children's favorite, packaged with a hardcover book, will enchant listeners and create new audiences.
An ALA Notable Book and SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Best Book of the Year, CHRYSANTHEMUM is the tale of a mouse child who feels perfect in every way until she faces kindergarten ridicule for her unusual name.
Meryl Streep's reading animates a story already brimming with the high emotions of childhood.
A gruff-voiced father, the singing Mrs.
Delphinium Twinkle, and the exasperating nasal teasing of classmates combine with Streep's perfect pacing and the lively orchestral music to create an enchanting experience in which the underling triumphs--every child's dream.
(c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an alternate Library Binding edition.


Children's Books,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Family Life,New Experiences,Friendship, Social Skills & School Life,Self-Esteem & Self-Respect,School

 PDF Download And Online Read: Chrysanthemum

Comment List (Total:18)

  •     I had read this wonderful children's book before purchasing as an e-book. So my three star rating is not for the book or the illustrations. The author, the illustrator, the message of the book all are five star plus. I had to take two stars off because as an e-book, this title is difficult to navigate. On each page, the lovely illustrations are so small and no way that I could find to make them larger. The print for that page does enlarge somewhat when you touch just the right spot. And I do mean just the RIGHT SPOT. I had to fumble around the screen a bit to find that area and it made it difficult to keep a flow as I read the book. I was using the free Kindle Reader App on my iPad, so I have no idea if the experience would be different on a Kindle.

  •     Great book and in great condition.

  •     Im so glad I found this its my sons favorite

  •     one of the shelves were ripped. They wanted me to send it back.

  •     Happy

  •     Great storyline.

  •     Cute story.

  •     Great book for young readers!

  •     Great for third grade social issues unit!MM

  •     story i love, i just didnt realize i had bought a Huge copy of the book. I gave it to my mom who works in an elementary school

  •     Same with this book it was one of my other grandaughters favorite

  •     Kevin Henkes' classic school story Chrysanthemum is a must for all ages! Chrysanthemum grows up believing that her name is absolutely perfect, and it is... until she gets to school and some of the students in her glass giggle at her name. Chrysanthemum has to come back to the realization that her name IS absolutely perfect and she finds the opportunity to bloom in her own way at school. As a teacher I wish it were as easy to build up the confidence of our students as it is in this story, but the lesson is still there for our children to learn: be yourself and be proud of who you are; bloom where you're planted!I have had the paperback copy in my classroom for several years and it is starting to get worn. I decided to replace it with the digital copy since my students enjoy reading on the Kindle. I was pleased with the formatting of the book, some other picture books have not turned out well on the Kindle or the iPad reading app. This book provided the actual pages of the story and the text can be enlarged if you tap it on the iPad app. I do wish that the iPad app would also include the text to speech feature that is available on Kindles, since our school has several iPads and my students with special needs are able to read more successfully using books on the Kindle app.Overall, I am very pleased with this version and I heartily recommend the story to readers of all ages and names.

  •     A little girl, Chrysanthemum, is teased for her name. She had been told since birth that she was a "perfect" daughter, with a perfect name, etc preciousness. She is bullied at school and it takes a few days until finally, the music teacher, sticks up for her.Your child will be exposed to bullies, as that is a reality of life. This is just one book in your home library to have to discuss bullies.

  •     I think this book was sweet but not only that it was a book that told lessons and was happy I would love if anyone would like to get it on amazon or kindle I am so happy I wasted 10 minutes on such a good book and I hope you agree! One of the best books I've read in a long time! So reed this and join with me in this great book!

  •     I remember reading this book in the school library over and over again when I was little, and I even did a school project on it! 'Chrysanthemum' is a lovely book with creative illustrations that I was able to relate to as a child. The main character, Chrysanthemum, goes to school for the first time and learns that her name is a lot different than the other kids, and she struggles with learning how to accept it until she meets someone with another unique name! This book is great at demonstrating that sometimes there are people around you that are much more similar to you than you realize, and accepting yourself is something that we all have to learn how to do. This is one of my favorite books and I was so happy to have found it again.

  •     Quite an adorable picture book! When my son came home asking me what his other name was, I was in a quandary. However, much questioning he finally said he needed to know his flower name. YOU KNOW, Mommy, he insisted! Like Lily 's, his sister's, name. Although we brainstormed several flower names, he went to be frustrated, saying he better remember his flower name by school tomorrow or his friends will make fun of him. I had quite the chuckle but was relieved when an elementary teacher friend of mine suggested he'd read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes! That theory was way more plausible team the reincarnation one - LOL!

  •     This is one of my favorite children's books. All of us get stuck with the names our parents choose and sometimes we wish for a different name--I remember wishing I had something different. Chrysanthemum has such a long name and gets teased about it, but when the music teacher tells her that she has a long name too and is also named after a flower, all the other girls are suddenly jealous. Such a cute message with darling pictures!

  •     My daughter loves this book. It is one of her favorites. A good story about fitting in.


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