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Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Imperfect Garden, written by Melissa Assaly and illustrated by April dela Noche Milne. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2019. $19.95 ages 4 and up

"This carrot looks like it has two legs. Mom says carrots come in all shapes and sizes. We are just used to the ones in the store.

After we pull a few more carrots, I wash them and Mom peels them. I take a bite of my two-legged carrot and a bite ... "

What might Jay, who is helping his mom in their garden, discover about the two carrots he tastes? You're right! They taste the same. 

It's an important lesson for each of us to learn, isn't it? We have become accustomed to perfection in the fruits and vegetables we buy at the grocery store. In fact, I would venture to say we expect them to be without a blemish, or we don't buy them. How many times do you put back a grocery item because of an imperfection?

Jay and his mother are growing their own garden, and busy harvesting what is ready. Some of the fruits and vegetables are weird and unusual shapes - cucumbers, carrots, apples. Jay knows that apple pies taste delicious no matter the shape, size, or color of the apples used to make them.

From spring to fall they work together to reap what they sow. Once their garden produce has been consumed, the two return to the grocery store for the food they need. Jay is surprised, once again, to see how identical each item is. He has a question for the grocer:

" ... "Don't you have
any twirly-whirly, lumpy, bumpy
fruits and vegetables?"

The grocer has a surprising response; Jay is delighted.

The author follows up with a note, and a plea for readers to help reduce food waste, taking any small steps they can. She includes a section on 'tips for planting with children.'

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