The Gardener is at the top of my list of favorite picture
books. I gave it to my sister, a Baltimore gardener, for her 50th birthday.
Mr. McGreely, a close relative I’m sure of Mr. McGregor,
finally plants a city garden. The
bunnies, soon referred to as flop-ears, puff-tails, and twitch-whiskers, are
thrilled. Mr. McGreely is not
happy. He digs and hammers and nails
walls and fences and moats all around. But every night, “muncha muncha muncha” three bunnies feast until . . .
Find the solution by following the bunny trails in G. Brian
Karas’ lively and humorous illustrations.
Mrs. McGee wonders “Whose garden is this?” as she pushes a
toddler in a stroller through a lush watercolor garden drawn by Jane
Dyer. The gardener is sure it is his, just as sure
as the rabbit that nibbles it, the worm that tills it, the honeybee and
butterfly that pollinate it, and all the other animals that contribute
growth. Plants claim it, as do weeds and
trees and sun and soil, and of course the seed. My favorite
illustration is of woman and child, ears to the ground, listening. And
the seed whispers, “’It is mine.’” Whose garden is it?” Mrs. McGee
continues to ponder as she strolls away.
Mary Ann Hoberman was Highly Commended by the 2005 Charlotte
Zolotow Award Committee for her writing in Whose Garden Is It?
“It’s not that I am stupid. It is just that I am lost in this new place.”
feels different – English is not her first language. A dupatta covers
her head and shoulders. Her father has told her “. .. we are not always
liked here. ‘Our home Country and our new one have had difficulties . .
. [b]ut it will be good for us here in time.’”
On a class trip to an apple orchard, Farah picks one
green apple to contribute to the cider making. One boy and a girl tell
her their names. Hay tickles her arms. The boy belches and
everyone laughs. She knows laughter; it is the words that are strange.
Then Farah takes a deep breath and says her “first outside-myself word”
in English. Eve Bunting was Highly Commended by the 2007 Charlotte
Zolotow Award Committee for her writing in One Green Apple.
that’s it for now. I’m a children’s librarian, no longer working in
libraries, who served on the Newbery Award Committee ages ago in 1991,
and now teach A Workshop for Adults who Want to Write Picture Books for Young Children
at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD and elsewhere. I also lead moms
and toddlers in story and song at The Wise Willow Children’s Book and
Toy Shop in Annapolis, MD. I got to know Susan decades age at the
Washington Ethical Society and have recently become a fan of GardenRant.