The Bear's Garden
The Bear's Garden

The Bear's Garden

Written by Marcie Colleen & illustrated by Alison Oliver
3 - 7
Reading age
Page count
Mar 24, 2020
Publication date

Buy from other retailers


What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

Seamlessly marrying truth and imagination, this charming story reminds readers of the importance of one person’s care and the power of community.

A nameless little girl living in the heart of the city and accompanied by her faithful stuffed panda bear finds beauty where others hurry by. She nurtures a seedling, first in a tin can, and then outside, until she has to “leave for a while.” She leaves in charge the only person she can trust to lovingly care for the garden: her bear, but not before filling him with “snuggles and cuddles.” In her absence, the garden blossoms and grows—thanks to the help of her community, who, noticing her garden, begin slowing down and stepping in to create a space to grow, play, and love. The impact of the story is magnified by the inclusion of a short Author’s Note informing readers that The Bear’s Garden is inspired by actual events, including an abandoned teddy bear that helped inspire a community garden. The descriptive text is full of imagery (“the girl’s imagination spilled onto the sidewalk, rolled across the street, and sprouted”) and a soft-touch of humor (“She thought maybe she could whisper ‘I believe in you’ from far away, but she didn’t have enough string”) that weave together to create a heartfelt story. All throughout—and even in the endpapers—the illustrations add layers of meaning and understanding to the story with well-chosen details, from the bear’s slight facial expressions and the little girl’s singular pajama appearance, to the love-inspired, bear-face graffiti location marker.

What Kind of Book is The Bear's Garden


communitygardeningscience and naturebearsimaginationlifestylescity and town lifetoys, dolls and puppetscity life and urban livinginclusivityEarth Day

Race, Ethnicities, & Nationalities

Where Does This Book Stand Out

  • Thoughtful Citizen

    The “Thoughtful Citizen” badge is awarded to recognize exceptional books that promote exemplary citizenship.

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • If we hurry too fast sometimes we miss little bits of beauty around us. Take a minute to slow down. Do you see anything you didn't notice before?
  • The little girl starts the garden but isn't able to make it happen all on her own because she has to leave. We don't have to do things all alone either. Is there something you could use a little help accomplishing? Is there something you could help someone else with?
  • The little girl starts her garden in a tin can. Have you ever grown something from a seed before? With an adult's help, give it a try!


Book Lists That Include This Book

The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Marcie Colleen Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Marcie Colleen know that you want to hear from them about their book.

What Has Alison Oliver Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Alison Oliver know that you want to hear from them about their book.

More Books From These Creatives

    board • 22 Pages
    Pride & Prejudice
    Jennifer Adams, Alison Oliver
    board • 22 Pages
    1234 Cake!: A Count-And-Bake Book
    Caroline Wright, Alison Oliver
    picture • 48 Pages
    Survivor Tree
    Marcie Colleen, Aaron Becker
    board • 22 Pages
    The Nutcracker
    Jennifer Adams, Alison Oliver
    chapter • 144 Pages
    Gnawing Around
    Marcie Colleen, Steve James
    picture • 32 Pages
    Marcie Colleen, Emma Yarlett
    picture • 32 Pages
    Love, Triangle
    Marcie Colleen, Bob Shea
    picture • 40 Pages
    Alison Oliver
    chapter • 240 Pages
    Creepy Cafetorium
    Colleen AF Venable, Joe McGee, Paul Ritchey, Nick Murphy, Marcie Colleen
    chapter • 80 Pages
    Kitten Ninja
    Graphic Nov.
    Colleen AF Venable, Marcie Colleen, Ellen Stubbings
    board • 20 Pages
    Be Bold, Baby: Oprah
    Alison Oliver
    View more

Other Books You Might Enjoy If You Liked This Book

    picture • 32 Pages
    Errol's Garden
    Gillian Hibbs
    picture • 40 Pages
    The Curious Garden
    Peter Brown
    picture • 32 Pages
    Thank You, Garden
    Liz Garton Scanlon, Simone Shin
    picture • 32 Pages
    Green Green: A Community Gardening Story
    Marie Lamba, Sonia Sanchez
    picture • 32 Pages
    Uncle John's City Garden
    Bernette Ford, Frank Morrison
    picture • 48 Pages
    The Balcony
    Melissa Castrillón
    picture • 32 Pages
    What Grew in Larry's Garden
    Laura Alary, Kass Reich
    picture • 40 Pages
    Anna Walker
    picture • 36 Pages
    Ruby's Birds
    Mya Thompson, Claudia Davila
    picture • 32 Pages
    One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden
    Oriol Vidal

Book Details

Publication Date
March 24, 2020
Text Details
The text was set in New Caledonia and the display type is Lydian.
Illustration Details
The art in this book was created with marker, pencil, brush pen, charcoal, cut paper, and Photoshop.
Page Count
Reading Age
3 - 7 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)
WorldCat Number (OCLC)

Contribute to this page

Core Score - 85%

So, SO close to perfection!

Depth Score - 37%

Just the barebones.

Improve this page

Are you the author or illustrator? Claim your book.

Top Contributors


Book Clubs

Follow Bookroo