The Magic Garden: Take A Journey Through the Magical World of Nature

illus. by Lemniscates. 32p. Walter Foster Jr. Mar. 2018. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781633225138.
PreS-Gr 1—In this blend of nonfiction with an easy picture book narrative, readers meet young Chloe who "lives in a magic garden, but she doesn't even know it." The wind seems to whisper to her; shy creatures dare her to find them. Readers then embark on an exploration of the garden and of its unique, and often overlooked, inhabitants. The main text is a lyrical call to look closely and appreciate the magic of a seemingly ordinary garden. The final four pages contain more straightforwardly nonfiction back matter about the creatures observed. Text is packed far more densely into this section, with more advanced vocabulary than in the main text. This abrupt change in reading level makes it difficult to pinpoint the intended audience here: younger children will gravitate toward the primary story, while older children will appreciate the more thorough explanations at the end. Collage-style illustrations are suffused with shades of grey-blue and earthy tones, which make the reds and oranges really pop off of the page. A bright red snake "can perform incredible feats, like eating a meal three times [its] size." Chloe, seen in the opening and closing pages, wears a red dress beneath her grayish hooded overcoat. The middle pages focus solely on the garden creatures, allowing children to encounter the flora and fauna for themselves.
VERDICT Purchase for medium-size libraries where blended picture book fiction/nonfiction is popular.

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