It takes persistence, patience and teamwork to develop a healthy garden. These concepts are beautifully illustrated in the following three picture books.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Little Brown & Co., 2009
Liam is a curious boy who lives in a drab industrial place. There is little nature to be enjoyed in his world. One day he discovers some wildflowers along an abandoned rail track that used to run on a raised platform throughout the city. He begins to care for the plants. Eventually the garden grows, covering the railway with color and life. When winter comes, it takes its toll and nearly destroys the garden. Quickly however, because of his previous knowledge gained, Liam revives the garden and inspires others to do the same. Eventually the whole look of the city changes into a green and creative environment. The illustrations in this book often speak for themselves with beautifully painted spreads, at times divided into panels. They show a transformation of not just a city, but also of the heart.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes. Flying Eye Books, 2015.
In this imaginative and lavishly illustrated book a miniature gardener, smaller than a blade of grass, tries to tend the land. He works hard but the size of the garden is overwhelming. His efforts tending to a flower goes noticed by normal sized children in the real world. They begin to tend the garden, not knowing the little gardener exists. As a result the garden flourishes. The story speaks to the value of beauty in nature, quiet partnership and caring for your environment. The text is simple but the detailed artwork lends itself to an almost search and find feel where a reader can make new discoveries with each viewing.
We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and Kids. Illustrated by Julianna Swaney. 2019, Thomas Nelson.
The narrative of this book demonstrates how all great achievements begin with humble intentions. It shows how a family’s interest in gardening began with an interest in a small potted fern in a hardware store. When the fern dies, the family becomes interested in why and goes to the library to do some research. In the process, they learn how to better take care of plants and their interest grows. Eventually they begin planting a variety of vegetables and flowers, facing some obstacles along the way. This is an inspiring and informational story told with a light touch in pastel-hued watercolors.
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