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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seed Reads

One of backyard farming’s greatest joys, I think, is being able to share. Hey, I’d like to share the work! I’ll settle, though, for sharing the harvest and sharing the passion.

I love literature for how it plants the seeds of ideas. Here, then, are some of my favorite gardening story books for sharing with the children in my life. I’d love to hear your recommendations, too. (Book cover images are courtesy of www.amazon.com.)

How Groundhog’s Garden Grew

By Lynne Cherry

Elementary ages. The author writes in her dedication, “In loving memory of my father, who taught me to grown my own.” So sets the tone of this delightful story about a squirrel who teaches a groundhog how to grow his own garden instead of mooching food from his neighbors. This book is highly educational about the growing process, complete with meticulously detailed illustrations of seeds, plants and insects.

Busy in the Garden

Poems by George Shannon

Pictures by Sam Williams

All ages – although children who can understand puns will enjoy it the most. These poems are a hoot! This one, called “Blue Ribbon,” demonstrates:

To grow the size

that wins a prize,

it’s always wise

to fertilize.

Ten Seeds

By Ruth Brown

For the very young. With sparse words and vivid illustrations, this book takes a mathematical look at the journey of a packet of sunflower seeds from planting to harvest, and all the surprising hazards in between.

A Garden Alphabet

By Isabel Wilner

Pictures by Ashley Wolff

Preschool and up. A dog and a frog are hard at work in their garden while sneaky rabbits lurk on nearly every page. The verse is crisp and fun. “Ff is for frog, a gardener’s friend. For unwelcome insects, his tongue snaps The End.”

We Love the Dirt

By Tony Johnston and Alexa Brandenberg

Early readers. Although not a gardening story, per se, this book cleverly describes all the relationships different objects and people have to the dirt, reinforcing its very important role on the farm.

Planting a Rainbow

By Lois Ehlert

Preschool and up. This book showcases Ehlert’s signature style in bold, solid color collage cut-outs, and is a great way for children to learn to identify different plants. Similar books by the same author are Eating the Alphabet and Growing Vegetable Soup. We cooked the soup recipe in the latter book, and it was tasty.

The Secret Garden

By Frances Hodgson Burnett

Older grades to adult -- although quite suitable and engaging to read aloud to younger children.

I absolutely love this book. I like to pull it off the bookshelf when I am just so sick of winter, I think it will never end. Mary Lennox is a cold, hardened orphan transplanted from India to England. Watching her transform as she finds and cultivates a secret garden is a tonic indeed. Consider this passage: “Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”



Courtm said...

Thanks for sharing the books! I cannot wait to read them to my kids!

reprehriestless warillever said...

We love Planting a Rainbow, but Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup is even better.

We have also just renewed our library copy of Garden Partners, which is a cute little story about the garden that a girl and her grandmother grow together.

megan said...

I love "planting a garden" too - it always excites me. I'm excited to check out "growing vegetable soup"!

Lindsay said...

I also love "The Gardner" by Sarah Stewart and David Small and "Jodi's Beans" by Malachy Doyle. They are great! Thanks for the recommendations!