FICTION

Thank You, Garden

S. & S./Beach Lane. Mar. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481403504.
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PreS-Gr 1–A multiracial group of neighbors plant and enjoy a community garden. Scanlon employs brief rhyming text to describe the many steps involved in preparing the soil, planting and watering, and waiting for the crops to grow. But gardening is not all work. There is “garden play,” too, for children can splash and romp in the mud created by their watering hose. The cartoon illustrations, rendered in acrylic paint, watercolor, and Photoshop, have a matte finish. They depict an ever-smiling group of apple-cheeked children and adults, including a grandmother, engaged in gardening activities. Almost all the scenes are spreads on dark grounds that bleed off the pages. In one charming scene, a girl and boy kneel, the girl with her ear to the ground, both listening intently for the “garden hardly makes a sound/growing, slowly, underground.” Even a “garden frog and worm and bees” make an appearance. Finally, the neighbors gather around a table to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a resounding, “Garden, yes!”
VERDICT This delightful story is a perfect way to usher in the spring gardening season and inspire readers to get going on their own planting.

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