Zuzu’s Petals, A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Karolyn Grimes and Karen Deming

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

zuzus-petalsZuzu’s Petals, A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Karolyn Grimes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“That’s faith. Believing in something before you see it.”

God only knows the last time I read a children’s picture book. But I so enjoyed reading Zuzu’s Petals, A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by author Karolyn Grimes, the woman who played the role of Zuzu Bailey in the classic Christmas film–yes, you guessed it–It’s a Wonderful Life. The book is co-authored and illustrated by Karen Deming.

I’m absolutely aware that I’m biased and sentimental about this read, having loved the film all my life, but what else is a book like this for if it isn’t to warm your heart and inspire you? The illustrations are beautiful, wonderfully depicting old-fashioned Bedford Falls and the people in it, appropriately shifting the “look” along with the flow of the story.

It was interesting seeing the Wonderful Life tale from Zuzu’s angle, seeing how she views her father, George, who works hard at the Building and Loan. While the storyline doesn’t follow each detail of the film exactly, the attention to detail in the book is still clear and fitting as the story draws an inspiring parallel to the movie’s message about how one’s acts of kindness can go a long way.

Oh, it mayn’t be 100% necessary to know the original story in order to enjoy this book, but knowing the original story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls will make you appreciate this book all the more. I highly recommend it.


It’s a Wonderful Life: I Met Zuzu Bailey!


Karolyn Grimes, actress and author

Karolyn Grimes, actress and author

That’s right! Zuzu, one of the daughters of George and Mary Bailey from my all-time favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life–classic, iconic, superb, and such a holiday staple.

Zuzu is actually actress and author Karolyn Grimes. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting her at this year’s Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival in Washington. And I came away with two of Karolyn’s books!

I picked up Celebrating It’s a Wonderful Life: How the Movie’s Message of Hope Lives On, since, yes, I’m all about hope and inspiration in life. Karolyn was also super-kind to share a copy of her brand new children’s book, Zuzu’s Petals: A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with beautiful illustrations by author and illustrator Karen Deming.

An autograph from "Zuzu"!

An autograph from “Zuzu”!

And, yes, I’m still reeling over this, folks. Never in my life would I have imagined meeting someone from the film I’ve watched and enjoyed every year for as long as I can remember. In a sense, I’m still growing into the 1946 film as an adult, as its powerful message unfolds for me on new levels, the more times I watch it.

You can learn about Karolyn, her books, and more at her website, and also check out Karen Deming’s books and artwork here.

Now, then. I suppose I can consider this my unofficial and early kick off of Christmas this year. 😀 The official kick off will be next week, when I announce my annual Christmas Book Picks!


“Look, Daddy! Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” ~Zuzu Bailey

Celebrating It's A Wonderful Life: How the Movie’s Message of Hope Lives On Zuzu's Petals, A Dream of 'It's a Wonderful Life'