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Friday, April 16, 2010

My Garden, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, Harper. 2010. $21.99 ages 2 and up

"My mother has a garden.
I'm her helper. I water. I weed.
And I chase away the rabbits
so that they don't eat all the lettuce.
It's hard work, and my mother's garden is very nice,
but if I had a garden..."

Ah, the warmth of the April sun is upon us and thoughts are turning to planting and growing. I am a bit apprehensive, with the weather so unusually warm, that we haven't seen the last of winter's bite. What we do know is that any cold won't last for long, and soon gardeners will be on their knees in the dirt, planting row after row of vegetables and flowers.

The little girl in Kevin Henkes' latest book is content to help her mother water and weed. She knows her her help is needed to keep the rabbits at bay and the plants productive. Her garden would bear no comparison. The garden she imagines would be without weeds, and abundant with everlasting blooms. She could think changes in her flowers and voila, they would be different. Her garden would only have chocolate rabbits, who didn't eat but were eaten. And seashells would grow more seashells. And jelly beans would grow on bushes....ah, can you just imagine???

Kevin Henkes is so adept at creating the perfect story for our youngest readers. It amazes me that he has been writing for almost thirty years and continues to keep these young fans clearly in mind with each new book. His illustrations for this book are full of color, warmth and the strong lines that are his trademark style. He fills each page with the dreams of a young gardener. Spare, but perfectly chosen, text accompanies his detailed artwork and tells a tale that will have all young dreamers sharing ideas for their own imaginary garden.

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