In honour of my talk tomorrow at the Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show (How to Make Gardening a Family Affair, 11 am at Spruce Meadows!), I thought I’d post some of my favourite garden-themed picture books. They’re perfect for sharing, especially on a sunny day in the hammock.
The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown
I am forever grateful to my friend Erika for leading me to this book. It has a slightly mischievous feel to it that I love, as little Liam’s adopted garden starts sneaking out into the big grey city and changing the landscape for the better. An environmental statement perhaps, but told with a light hand and coloured with playful images.
The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle
The life cycle of a flowering plant seems like the stuff for science textbooks, but in the hands of the masterful Eric Carle, it becomes a story full of beauty, drama, and insight. If you aren’t familiar with this author/artist, bring home The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, and the Mixed-Up Chameleon as well.
The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart, illustrations by David Small
A young girl is sent from her beloved farm to her uncle’s city bakery to help the Depression-struck family stay afloat. She brings with her a bundle of nerves and a suitcase full of flower seeds, and attempts the impossible: getting a smile out of Uncle Jim. An engaging, ‘bloom where you are planted’ story with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrations. Don’t miss it.
Growing Vegetable Soup, by Lois Elkhart
Lois Elkhart’s signature paper-cut art takes you through the planting, watering, and growing of all the veggies Father and child want in their soup. Bold colours and labeled objects make this a fun talk-about book for the curious set. Try the provided recipe, too!
The Boy Who Grew Flowers, by Jen Wojtowicz, illustrations by Steve Adams
A slightly bizarre love story starring a young man who sprouts roses out of his head, like hair, every full moon. His thoughtfulness and ingenuity lead him to help a girl who has a few of her own challenges.
And Then It’s Spring, by Julie Fogliano, illustrations by Erin E. Stead
Perfect book for this time of year. The woodcut and pencil illustrations are just gorgeous, and the simple, sparse poetry of the story so inviting when read aloud. (There’s a “greenish hum” coming from the ground! I wish I wrote that.) The anticipation of spring is perfectly captured, and the fun little details in the pictures will have you going through it again and again. And your preschooler compatriots, too.
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstien
A classic tale about a lot of things… love, sacrifice, the environment. It’s been vilified, it’s been revered. Have a look.
The Water Hole, by Graeme Base
Travel all over the world, learn to count, and remember the importance of water to all forms of life. Lots of hunt and find details too, as you would expect from Mr. Base.
What are your favourite garden-themed picture books?
Some of this material previously posted on CanadianGardening.com