Thursday, September 16, 2010

In and out the garden...

Some new books about gardens and growing things.

My Friends the FlowersMy Friends the Flowers by William Lach, illustrated by Doug Kennedy. Abrams, 2010.

This splendid picture book channels Ub Iwerks and Max Fleischer while imparting real facts and information about roses, hollyhocks, snapdragons, morning glories and more. 
Lach's writing bounces with rhyme and highlights a quality of each featured bloom.

Marigold SCARES all the bugs
He  likes to make them run.
Sunflower's big happy face basks in the morning sun. 
Doug Kennedy must have draw some inspiration from Disney's Silly Symphonies. His flowers preen and smile. Bugs add comedy to the scenes.  The book ends with a glossary of featured flowers, complete with photographs, facts and the scientific names.  Directions for growing  a bug scaring garden (marigolds,) a sun loving garden (sunflowers,) and a fast growing garden (morning glories) are also included. 

A Garden of OppositesA Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis. Schwartz & Wade, 2009

Books that introduce the concept of "opposites" are a tradition in the picture book landscape for very young children.

Nancy Davis offers familiar images from the world of gardening translated into bright colors and simple, mostly symmetrical shapes.  

Worms, spades, garden shears, bugs and butterflies are used to present  opposite concepts like, inside and outside (the inside of an apple and the outside,) open and closed (an open flower and a flower bud,) big and little (a big bug and a little bug) and more. 

The book feels good in the hands with a satiny finish on the cover and no book jacket to worry about. The pages are heavy paper stock that will stand up to small hands and robust handling. 

Good Garden, The: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (CitizenKid)The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to having Enough, written by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault, Kids Can Press, 2010

Part of the CitizenKid series, Milway addresses the issue of food security.  In Honduras,  Maria Luz's family faced a crisis that threatened their survival. Her family could not to grow enough food to feed themselves because of poor soil and middlemen (coyotes) who only paid a pittance for the family's harvest, not even enough to cover the cost of seeds and supplies for a new crop.  When a new teacher arrived in the village to teach soil amelioration and new farming techniques, the community began to thrive along with their improved crops.  They learned to eliminate the middleman and sell their products themselves at market.  The story of the teacher is based on the real life of Elĺas Sanchez, an agronomist who worked along with international organizations to help Honduran farmers improve their crops and their lives. 
Sylvie Daignealut's illustrations glow with gold light and suggest the traditions of Latin American art. 

Information on international agriculture organizations like Heifer International, World Vision and others is included as well as a glossary of Spanish words.   

Up We Grow!: A Year in the Life of a Small, Local FarmUp we Grow: A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm, written by Debora Hodge, photographed by Brian Harris, KidsCan Press, 2010.

The seasons of life on a farm are presented through the photographs of Brian Harris.  Baby animals and seed sowing in the spring, tending the crops in the summer, harvesting in the fall and resting the soil in the winter are described.  The focus is on sustainable farming and best practices like composting, seed saving and selling at farmer's markets.

The book would be very useful in a communities, nutrition or environment units  The presence of children doing chores in the photos brings the images to life and will help young readers identify with life on the farm.

1 comment:

Rawley said...

My students are going to plant their own garden at the end of the month. These selections look fantastic! Will definitely hunt them down at the library :-)