The Forever Garden

illus. by Samantha Cotterill. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553512731.
PreS-Gr 2—Just as a garden grows, so does a friendship. This is a touching story about the close relationship between a little girl and her elderly neighbor. As Honey tends her garden, young Laurel delights in watching her work. She observes the woman look after the plants in all kinds of weather. The youngster pays attention to the way Honey thins the lettuce, pulls beets from the ground, and sings to the kale. She says she can hear the kale singing back even if the child cannot. Honey is more than happy to share the fruits and vegetables she has grown with Laurel and her family. The two buddies spend time in the garden during the day and on nights when the weather is nice. But everything will soon change when Honey sells her house. The small child wonders what will happen if Honey moves away. Will they be able to remain friends? What will happen to the garden when Honey is no longer there to take care of it? This book provides many opportunities for discussions about friends and moving away. Told from the young girl's perspective, the story highlights a child's ability to work through a difficult experience. The digitally colorized pen-and-ink illustrations are soft and heartwarming. The subtle details add to the pictures but do not distract from the main characters.
VERDICT A welcome addition to any library collection, this is a good selection for one-on-one and small group sharing.

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