Thursday, April 12, 2012

Celebrating spring in the garden - ages 3 - 8

With a bit of luck, April will bring the perfect combination of rain and sunshine, and our hills will shine in brilliant green. Children have an innate sense of the seasons and they marvel in the magic of watching a plant grow. In many ways, it’s a microcosm of all the changes their little bodies are going through. Here are a few books that celebrate watching our gardens grow with our children.
Planting the Wild Garden
by Kathryn O. Galbraith
illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
Peachtree Press
ages 4–8
available at your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
Enter the world of a meadow garden and look carefully around you. You’ll find seeds that have been planted in so many different ways: scattered by the wind and rain; eaten by a flock of birds; carried away by foxes’ tails or peoples’ clothing. Galbraith and Halperin work together seamlessly, showing through poetic words and soft illustrations just how wild plants spread their seeds and how seedlings then grow into wild plants. Young children will be fascinated by the drawings that show small sequences of seeds germinating, and plants growing and taking root. Halperin balances these small panels with larger sweeping landscapes. The lyrical text uses sound effects as the rain and wind whisk seeds away. This is a perfect book to intrigue little gardeners and nature lovers.

Please also see reviews at The Nonfiction Detectives and the Jean Little Library.
Flower Garden
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
CA: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1994
ages 3–6
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
preview available at Google Books
Children love gardening, whether it’s digging outside in a large garden or planting a seed in a small pot. This book celebrates the joy a young child in the city has in creating a window box full of beautiful flowers for her mother’s birthday. Starting with a trip to the nursery, readers follow a young African- American girl and her father home to her apartment. “Garden in a cardboard box/ Walking to the bus/ Garden sitting on our laps/ People smile at us!’’ The brief rhyming text is lovely to read aloud, enthusiastic and full of happiness. The rich, warm paintings invite readers right into this family’s home, sharing the excitement of preparing this gift for her mother. Best of all, this book celebrates gardening together as a family, creating beauty for everyone to see.

Head over to this month's Parents Press where my monthly Bookshelf column looks at books celebrate springtime in the garden.

These books all came from our wonderful school library. Please support your local school library and donate books once you are done enjoying them. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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