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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Here in the Garden, written and illustrated by Briony Stewart. Kane Miller, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $16.50 ages 3 and up

"You'd help me plant
seedlings in the garden
as we chatted and hummed
like the birds.
My breath is making mist
on the rain-dotted windows
and I wish that you were here."

His time in the garden is pleasant. For the boy who is there, it is also a reminder of someone he is missing. Throughout the seasons he and his friend spent many hours together sharing the joys of growth and abundance, the sunshine and the rain.

As he works on the garden for a new year without his friend, he filters through the many memories they shared. His heart is aching, but being in the garden is a perfect place to feel the joy to be found in nature - just the way the two of them always did. It is a gentle and beautiful way to help those who have experienced the loss of a loving pet.

The watercolor artwork is as gentle and telling as is her story. The sense of movement and the muted palette bring a closeness to the boy and his world that is touching. A reminder of his beloved pet is there in many small ways, on every page. While it is a story about the sadness felt, it is also a tender celebration of the life they shared.

Touching and memorable, it is a welcome addition to those books you want to share when dealing with loss.                                                                           

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