“Light text complements engaging illustrations in a story of a bounteous garden and community.”
Four garden plots placed on a city block are planted, worked on, enjoyed, and appreciated by a diverse community in both age, race, and ethnicity. Children play with toy cars around the garden, explore the soil and growing plants, and help water, weed, and pick the produce. Shin’s illustrations beautifully display the development of the garden and its community, beginning with the gardeners’ hard work to plant the plots, then the effort to care for the garden, their patience as they wait for growth, and finally the exciting day of enjoying the fruits—or vegetables—of their labors with a bounteous spread of produce. The garden’s placement on a city block paints the garden as being easily accessible and an idyllic slice of heaven. It is portrayed through the illustrations from the view of an onlooker as well as that of a garden participant, matching the community’s eyes both passing their garden on while walking and muddying their shoes while watering their plants. While the amount of text is on the light side, perhaps more reminiscent of a board book, its flowing stanzas coupled with engaging illustrations (with delightful details like the garden gnome!) elevates the book. As its title suggests, an overarching message of gratitude permeates the story—both gratitude for community and an abundant garden.
The community has planted a plethora of goodies in their garden. If you had a section of a garden plot, what would you choose to plant?
The community gathers together, sharing their food from the garden to create a big feast of produce. How is this like when we use our talents and work with others for a common goal? What talents do you have to offer?
"Scanlon’s spare, rhyming text reads like an upbeat playground chant: “Garden ready, / garden new // Garden so much / work to do!” Verses cheerfully acknowledge the garden’s denizens—humans, flora, and fauna—as well as the chores and patience that yield the harvest . . . Joining a bumper crop of gardening titles, this suffices without standing out."
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous celebrated picture books, including One Dark Bird; In the Canyon; Happy Birthday, Bunny!; the Caldecott Honor recipient All the World; and Thank You, Garden. Liz is an adjunct professor of creative writing at Austin Community College, and her poetry has been published widely in literary journals. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas. Visit her at LizGartonScanlon.com.
For Kathi, Susan, Anne, and Lindsey,
who help me grow
Simone Shin is an award-winning illustrator and a graduate of Boston University and the Art Center College of Design. She began working as a freelancer illustrating for magazines and newspapers, and teaching children in the arts, eventually venturing into children’s book illustration. Her inspiration comes from her highly active young son, as well as her strong interests in music, nature, and family history. In her spare time she likes to create things with fabric and cardboard for fun—game boards, telephones, record players, violins, dollhouses, just about anything she can think of! After residing for many years in the Los Angeles area, Simone currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
To Dylan and Ryan
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The text for this book was set in Artlessness.
The illustrations for this book were rendered in acrylic paint, watercolor, and Photoshop.