Water Weed Wait by Edith Hope Fine and Angela Demos Halpin, illustraed by Colleen Madden. Tricycle, 2010 (review copy provided by the publisher)
School gardens are often started but tend to languish despite
the best of intentions of teachers, students and parents. This book
might encourage a community to try again.
The children at the Pepper Lane Elementary are inspired by a visit from Miss
Marigold, the garden lady to start a garden at their
school. They work together with help from adults. Even Mr. Barkley, the school's cranky neighbor, lends his
gardening expertise. Building a garden is hard work. Ground must be
cleared and prepared then seeds are planted and watered. It takes
patience to wait for vegetables to grow and flowers to bloom but their
efforts are rewarded and celebrated at the end. Suggestions for
starting a school garden are shared.
A Garden for Pig written by Kathryn K. Thursman, illustrated by Lindsay Ward, Kane Miller, 2010
lives on an apple farm. His owner feeds him every kind of apple
delicacy but Pig is tired of apples and longs for the vegetables growing
in a nearby garden. When Pig manages to get into the garden he is in
heaven. He discovers a passion for squash. When Mrs. Pippins discovers
him in the garden, she secures him in his muddy pig pen and he cannot
escape. He prepares the ground in his pen for planting and "passes" the
seeds from the squash he ate. He patiently waits and before long has
his own squash garden. Thursman follows the story with two pages of
organic gardening tips. Illustrator, Ward's apple trees are filled with
apples and text from apple recipes. Pig's method for planting his seeds is very...organic--to be sure. THAT will get the kids attention!
Our Shadow Garden by Cherie Foster Golburn, art by the children of the Children's Cancer Hospital at M.D.Anderson Cancer Center. Bright Sky Press, 2011.
The Children's Art Project at M.D.Anderson Cancer Center funds programs for children who are cancer patients at the center. The project has long been known for its Christmas cards but has also branched out to beautiful stationary and gift items as well as cards for other holidays. This book is a compilation of artwork by forty-seven of those patients.
When a child's grandmother becomes ill with cancer, she cannot work in her garden any more. Told in the first person, the child and "Poppa" work to revamp Nana's garden. The two of them create a shadow garden that can be enjoyed in the evening. Soft lights are hung in the trees and flowers that bloom in the cool of the evening are added to the beds. The flowers' fragrances waft through the air. Animals that only come out in the evening visit the garden. A well placed bench provides a spot to rest and to listen. The creation of the garden gives the child and Poppa a focus and way to contribute to their loved one's recovery.
A glossary of plant and garden terms (like diurnal and germinate) is included along with a list of gardening websites. Information on planning a shadow garden appear in sidebars on the pages along with specific information about shadow garden plants. Traditions of planting by the phases of the moon are explained also. Golburn is a certified Texas Master Gardener and is knowledgeable about her subject. Gardens have a healing power. More than just a "gift" book, the content is useful to gardeners and families who are dealing with cancer.