Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gem, by Holly Hobbie (ages 3-7) - lovely exploration in the garden

Do you remember those lazy summer days wandering through the garden, maybe stomping through your local creek? Some of my favorite moments growing up were making a tunnel through the tall weeds in our orchard. It was magical, hiding away from the world around me. We've been enchanted by Holly Hobbie's newest book, Gem. It's a perfectly lovely summer book to share with your dreamers, your explorers, your nature lovers.
by Holly Hobbie
NY: Little, Brown, 2012
ages 3–7
available at your local library and on Amazon
Beginning with a letter to her young granddaughter Hope, Holly Hobbie remembers the summer that Hope discovered a “small wonder in the garden” — the young toad she named Gem. And so begins a nearly wordless picture book that follows Gem’s spring journey. This little toad escapes several perilous encounters — nearly being run over by a speeding car, snatched by a hungry hawk — before Hope discovers it in the garden.

Hobbie finishes the book with another letter, this time from Hope to her grandma. Hope went through her own journey that spring, as she realized that “toads are not pets.” Hobbie’s watercolor illustrations capture the essence of the spring garden, depicting the toad realistically while still giving him his own quirky personality.

Children will love following this wordless journey, rooting for Gem and connecting with Hope. It's the perfect picture book for young preschoolers finding their first "pets" in the garden, or older children remembering back to those discoveries.

Holly Hobbie is a prolific author and artist, creator of the Toot and Puddle series, the Fanny books, and many others. She combines beautiful watercolors with a real sense of children's wonder and laughter.

If you love books about exploring nature, head over to this month's Parents Press, where my monthly Bookshelf column focuses on nature books. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers Little, Brown and Company. 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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