My Garden

Kevin Henkes, Author, Kevin Henkes, Illustrator Greenwillow $17.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-171517-4

Spring colors of lilac, daffodil yellow, pale blue, and leafy green bloom in Caldecott Medalist Henkes’s fanciful account of the great outdoors. “My mother has a garden. I’m her helper,” explains a girl, who wears a petunia-pink dress and a golden straw hat. She dutifully waters and weeds, “but if I had a garden,” she says, things would be less predictable. Gazing up at sunflowers, she giggles to imagine them colored in dots and plaids. She picks a flower and, in her perfect garden, another pops right up. Seashells and jelly beans sprout, disliked vegetables are invisible, and pests are not a problem: “the rabbits would be chocolate and I would eat them .” At this, the girl nibbles a bunny, surrounded by cocoa rabbits wearing telltale ribbons. Henkes gives the young storyteller a matter-of-fact voice and a sly sense of humor, while dewy watercolors and ink picture her reveling in a magical world of plants, birds, and butterflies. Even as the story elevates the wonders of nature into the realm of the fanciful, it reminds readers to appreciate everyday flowers and soil. Ages 2–7. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/25/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
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