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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Watch Me Grow! Written by Deborah Hodge and photographed by Brian Harris. Kids Can Press, 2011. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"Community gardens are good for neighborhoods. Neighbors of all ages and from many backgrounds get to know one another as they grow food side by side. Look for these shared gardens at community centers, parks, schools, apartment complexes or wherever people gather."

What a time to be alive and enjoying the growing movement toward gardening as a way to feed ourselves better, and also to improve our communities! In some places, those growing community gardens are setting aside a 'patch' and sharing their yield with Helping Hands and other programs that feed the hungry and those who cannot afford to feed themselves. Plus, it adds to the beauty of our towns and cities. These gardeners also have a say in how their gardens are grown...often without pesticides.
This informative and beautiful book has been divided into four sections...Growing, Sharing, Eating and Caring. The simple text is accompanied by colorful, enticing photographs of an assortment of delicious and savory foods, and the many delightful spots where they are grown. It might be a conventional garden, a honeycomb, a fenced patch or an apple tree. All contribute to a healthier, earth-friendly environment.  They are all shapes and sizes and offer a veritable bounty for those who help grow them, and others who benefit from those labors.
Tips are given for starting simple, with a herb garden or potted garden vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce. Chickens and honeybees are some of the animals that can be grown in urban areas, producing eggs and honey for yummy breakfast fare. The sharing part is a lesson is in giving back to the community and learning about being a good and generous citizen.

The eating part is oh, so appealing. One look at the tempting, brilliant colors, and then a quick glance at the many suggestions for preserving, cooking together, enjoying the health benefits of homegrown fruits and vegetables will have readers salivating.
Educational and inspiring, Watch Me Grow! is a commendable companion to Up We Grow! Deborah Hodge encourages her readers to think seriously about the changes they might make and the actions they might take to make the world a better place for all:

"When we garden, we are caring for nature and for the plants and animals of our world. As we watch seeds sprout and grow into plump fruits and vegetables, we are thankful for the soil, sun and rain that give life to our plants and all living things....

What will you grow?"

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