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The Gardener

Written by Sarah Stewart & illustrated by David Small
Published by Square Fish
5.75 / 7.0
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Goodreads Rating - 4.3 / 5.0
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What's The Gardener About

Publisher Summary

By the author-and-illustrator team of the bestselling The Library

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece -- an ambitious rooftop garden -- which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile. Sarah Stewart introduces readers to an engaging and determined young heroine, whose story is told through letters written home, while David Small's illustrations beautifully evoke the Depression-era setting.

The Gardener is a 1997 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book.

What Kind of Book is The Gardener

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mama who believes you're never too old for magical stories of talking animals and imaginary worlds.
5.75 / 7.0

Book Lists That Include The Gardener

Book Topics › uncles
Children's Books About Uncles
Book Topics › urban gardening
Children's Books About Urban Gardening
Book Topics › letter writing
Children's Books About Letter Writing
Book Topics › 1930's
Children's Books About 1930's
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Who Wrote The Gardener

Sarah Stewart

<b>Sarah Stewart</b> writes award-winning children’s books with her husband, illustrator David Small. Their books include <i>The Money Tree</i>, <i>The Friend</i>, <i>The Journey</i>, <i>The Library</i>, and <i>The Gardener</i>, a Caldecott Honor book and winner of the Christopher Award. Stewart grew up in Texas and studied Latin and philosophy in college. She has been a teacher, speechwriter, and ombudsman, among other, less notable, jobs. She has reviewed children’s books for <i>The New York Times</i>, has edited copy for The <i>Texas Observer</i>, and occasionally has a poem published in an obscure journal. Stewart and her husband, illustrator and author David Small, live in a historic home on a bend of the St. Joseph River in Michigan.

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Who Illustrated The Gardener

David Small

David Small was born and raised in Detroit. In school he became known as “the kid who could draw good,” but David never considered a career in art because it was so easy for him. At 21, after many years of writing plays, David took the advice of a friend who informed him that the doodles he made on the telephone pad were better than anything he had ever written. He switched his major to Art and never looked back. After getting his MFA at the Yale Graduate School of Art, David taught art for many years on the college level, ran a film series, and made satirical sketches for campus newspapers.

Approaching tenure, he wrote and illustrated a picture book, Eulalie and the Hopping Head, which he took to New York, pounding the pavements and collecting rejections for a month in the dead of winter. Eulalie was published in 1981. Although tenure at the college did not follow, many more picture books did, as well as extensive work for national magazines and newspapers. His drawings appeared regularly in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

A learn-as-you-go illustrator, David’s books have been translated into several languages, made into animated films and musicals, and have won many of the top awards accorded to illustration, including the 1997 Caldecott Honor and The Christopher Medal for The Gardener written by his wife, Sarah Stewart, and the 2001 Caldecott Medal for So, You Want To Be President? by Judith St. George. “At the Caldecott ceremony in San Francisco,” said David, “facing that veritable sea of smiling faces — of librarians, of friends in publishing, of my family and other well-wishers — I was so overcome that I lost my voice and croaked my way through the speech. Having been turned from a frog into a prince by the American Library Association, before their eyes that night, I turned back into a frog.” (Bio via

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Did The Gardener Win Any Awards

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Book Details

Publication Date:
May 1, 2007
Original Publication Date:
August 30, 1997
Original Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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