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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow? Edited by Penny Smith. DK, Tourmaline Editions. 2011. $17.99 ages 4 and up

"Here's a mini world in a jar, and the plant at the center is an insect-eating sundew. Place it on a sunny windowsill and sticky droplets form on its leaves. Passing insects stick to these and are digested to death. Team up the sundew with modeling clay aliens to make a bottle garden that's out of this world!"

So many people today are concerned about the environment and want to play a role in sustainability for everyone. In this useful and appealing book we learn that everything shown can be grown in containers. All plants are easy to care for, and will provide endless hours of enjoyment and learning. What plants are, what they need for growth, and why we need them comprises the first chapter. Questions are answered, information offered, and detailed drawings and clear photographs ensure that readers make a great start!

As we have come to expect from the team at Dorling Kindersley, there are detailed instructions given for every project suggested, and the photographs that accompany those ideas are useful when attempting them. After describing how to grow corn, children are encouraged to use the husk leaves to make paper for gifts and notebooks. Growing lavender from seeds leads to learning about herbal medicine and creating a sweet smelling lavender buddy.

Thirty projects are described, each taking up little space as the plants can be grown in containers and the projects tried one at a one or two things this year, and add to your repertoire next year. I learned a lot about growing herbs, and then using them for my baking. Mmmm! Basil and tomato muffins...what a way to start your day! What about rhubarb in one of those colorful plastic barbecue tubs? Poke a hole in the bottom, grow and pick the bounty of your labor (well, it really doesn't take much work) and then surprise guests with a rhubarb cobbler.

Tips are offered by a host of vegetable characters. There is a glossary, an index and a great deal of fun to be had when you buy this book!

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