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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Little Gardener, written and illustrated by Emily Hughes. Flying Eye Books. 2015. $i22.50 ages 4 and up

"Only, he wasn't much
good at gardening. It
wasn't like he didn't work

He worked hard,
very, very hard.

He was just too little.
But there was one thing ... "

This little gardener and I have much in common. We both want our garden (well, my yard) to be inviting and verdant. It can be hard work, and no matter how hard one might try, that work causes concern and some anxious moments.

At the beginning of the our visit to his garden, it doesn't look like much. It's very big; he's very small (think Thumbelina) and no matter how hard he works, that work is never done. As a result, the garden is looking bedraggled and plants are dying. There is one saving grace - a stunning, red zinnia. It is what gives him hope and keeps the gardener working as hard as he does. He loves this place he calls home.

After working morning, afternoon and night:

"Still, the garden was dying.
He would have no home.
He would have no supper.
He would have no joy."

Just before succumbing to a month long restorative sleep, he makes a wish. While no one hears the wish, someone does notice the zinnia. It gives her hope as well. The young girl, and her equally young helper, work daily while the little gardener sleeps. When he finally wakes up, his garden is transformed.

Emily Hughes works with colored pencils to create the beautiful spreads that show readers what hard work and a love of growing things can accomplish. There is joy immeasurable for the little gardener whose home it is.

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