Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review: The Curious Garden

When I ordered this book, I intended to write about it in time for Earth Day, but that obviously didn't happen so in honor of Children's Book Week, here we go.

I love this book. I can look at it over and over again. Illustrator/author Peter Brown has developed a distinctive style of telling a story through both words and pictures where the pictures carry as much or more of the story than does the text.

The Curious Garden is a story of a boy named Liam who discovers a small, neglected garden high over the dreary city in some abandoned train tracks. With a little bit of encouragement from Liam, the garden begins to expand with the mosses and the weeds leading the way. After faithfully tending to his garden through the spring, summer and fall, Liam is stopped by winter. He spends the winter studying gardening so that when the winter is over, he and the garden are both ready to begin the new spring together.

The evolution of the garden as it moves across the elevated train tracks throughout the city and enlists more gardeners and changes the interactions of the people living in the city, is primarily conveyed through the lovely detailed illustrations. The story culminates in a revisit to the opening illustration of the city which has now been totally transformed by its abundant green space. The health and well-being we derive from our green space is gently reinforced through this little fable.

This garden is definitely worth repeat visits. Perhaps I'll see you there.

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