Garden Books for Kids for Christmas

Pam Hind Rowland
Adams County Master Gardener

As it grows closer and closer to the first day of winter, our list of things to do in the garden grows smaller and smaller. However, another list of things to do in December is growing! Our Christmas list! Have you finished your holiday shopping? Still looking for gifts? Why not share the gift of reading and gardening with the children in your life? Following is a review of childrens’ picture books available at local bookstores as well as local libraries.

The Gardener

by Sarah Stewart Illustrated by David Small Ages 5 – 8

This is a beautiful and inspiring story about a young girl, her passion for gardening and her determination to make her grumpy Uncle Jim smile. It’s 1935 and Lydia Grace has moved to the city to help her uncle in his bakery because of her families financial problems. Through a series of letters to her parents and grandmother, she keeps them informed of daily happenings. She enjoys her work at the bakery, and in her free time she plants wonderful flowers everywhere! Lydia is also working on a secret garden, hoping to bring a smile to Uncle Jim’s face. The fourth of July arrives, and she’s ready to unveil her garden masterpiece. Lydia Grace leads her uncle to the rooftop and greets him with a menagerie of flowers! A week later Uncle Jim returns with a gift of thanks. He closes the shop, sends Lydia and friends to the rooftop, and he arrives with a beautiful cake covered with flowers. Lydia Grace writes home, "I truly believe that cake equals one thousand smiles." This is a lovely story, and Small’s award winning ink and pastel drawings show many details of city life. Through Lydia Grace, Stewart and Small show us all that we should "bloom where we are planted."

Flower Garden

by Eve Bunting Illustrated by Eve Bunting Ages 3 – 7

What kind of garden can you plant if you live in a city or town? A window box of course! In rhyming verse, Eve Bunting tells of a young child and her father planning a wonderful birthday surprise for her mother. The text takes the reader from the purchase of the flowers and supplies at the market, through the city on the bus, the climb up apartment stairs, and home again. Then father and daughter spread out newspaper and begin to create their surprise. "Hurry! Hurry! Get the trowel, spread the papers thick. Get the bag of potting soil, get the planting mix." They fill the planter with flowers and place it in the window for all to see. Mom arrives home and finds, "Candles on a birthday cake, chocolate ice cream, too. Happy, happy, birthday, Mom!" A garden box – for you." This is another wonderful book by Bunting. The illustrations are intensely soft and bold at the same time, and they depict the love and joy that comes from the "flower garden" surprise.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

by Candace Fleming Illustrated by G.Brian Karas Ages 3 -7

Mr. McGreely has dreamed and dreamed of planting a garden. Finally, by "hoeing and sowing," his garden dreams come true. He is thrilled as he watches his garden grow, and he can hardly wait to eat his vegetables! "But one night, when the sun went down and the moon came up," three hungry bunnies visited his garden. They "nibbled the leaves and chewed the sprouts!" Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! The next morning Mr. McGreely finds his garden chewed to pieces, and oh, how upset he is! So he goes to work to keep the rabbits out. He builds a wire fence around his veggies but muncha, muncha, muncha! Then he builds a wooden wall, a trench, and a cinderblock structure to keep the pesky critters away. At last he’s defeated the bunnies – or so he thinks. The surprise ending is delightful! This book is full of onomatopoeia and repetitive word that children will say over and over again. Karas’ rich, earthy illustrations are done in acrylic and pencil and add to this comical story. Read this to little ones and expect to hear muncha, muncha, muncha for days to come

How Groundhog’s Garden Grew

by Lynne Cherry Illustrated by Lynne Cherry Ages 3 - 9

Lynne Cherry has done it again! This delightful and informative new book chronicles the yearly garden cycle with help from Little Groundhog and friends. Little Groundhog is eating everyone else’s garden until he learns how to plant a garden of his own. After Groundhog harvests his food, Squirrel teaches him how to cook. And what do they do with their bounty? They share! All of Little Groundhog’s friends are invited to a wonderful, Thanksgiving feast that continues for years to come. The illustrations are detailed and colorful. Want to plant a garden with your child? Start by reading this enjoyable story about gardening, sharing, and friendship.

These are just a few of the many gardening books for children that are available. Enjoy your holiday shopping and remember – children, gardening, and books. What a great combination!

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