Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A plot about creating a windowbox garden scarcely portends the appeal of this lyrical, ebullient book. On a spring day in an urban neighborhood, a girl and her father visit the supermarket: "Garden in a shopping cart / Doesn't it look great? / Garden on the checkout stand / I can hardly wait.'' The youngster's anticipation grows as the duo travels home--walking down the street, riding the bus, climbing the apartment house stairs--all the while guarding their flowers. Without contrivance or strain, Bunting's verse evokes the universal yet unexpected felicity of blooming color, and the author throws in a happy surprise at the end: the "garden box'' is a birthday present for the girl's mother. Hewitt's intimate, oil paintings gain power through imaginative use of perspective and clean simplicity. The illustrations include just enough detail to prime side observations from pre-readers and still keep the focus on the verse. Fresh as a daisy. Ages 4-8.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In an oversized board book (referred to as a lap book), a young girl and her dad are off shopping. In addition to food, they purchase daffodils, tulips, daisies, and pansiesall in bloom. Dad lugs the groceries, and our young girl handles the flowers. It is pretty tiring riding the bus and walking up the stairs to their apartment; she shows it by plopping down while dad opens the door. Then, they create a flowerbox for their window ledge. It is a bright display of beautiful colors. What happens next is a nice surprise: candles are lit on a cake and what a wonderful surprise awaits moma garden box, just for her. It is a delightful story showing a city-dwelling family determined to bring the beauty of spring flowers into their home and neighborhood. It is also wonderful to see such a nice relationship between father and daughter and among all member of this family. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
(K - Gr.1 ) A comforting, richly illustrated story about a birthday surprise. An urban African-American girl and her father buy plants, potting soil, and a window box at the supermarket, ride the bus to their apartment, and put together a colorful gift for the child's mother. Rhyming verse carries the brief story, while wonderful, warm, full-color illustrations present scenes from novel angles, and depict a loving family with a sense of intimacy, sincerity, and joy. A reassuring choice for reading aloud. --Barbara Peklo Abrahams, Oneida City Schools, Manlius, NY
From grocery cart to checkout stand, from bus to third-floor walk-up, an excited little girl totes home a heavy armload of flowering plants. Sitting on the newspaper-strewn floor, she and her father transplant them, creating a "Garden in a window box / High above the street / Where butterflies can stop and rest / And ladybugs can meet." The garden is much admired by passing pedestrians, but the true object of this labor of love will discover the surprise upon her return home. "Candles on a birthday cake / chocolate ice cream, too. / Happy, happy birthday, Mom! A garden box -- for you." The simple rhymed verse, which skips along in pace with the child's anticipation, is smoothly integrated with the vibrant, lifelike paintings. The garden's progress from pots to planter is seen from several startling perspectives -- from the little girl's lap, from the base of a staircase, from directly overhead, from street level. Prereaders can trace the floral motif, repeated in the child's tights, the bus passenger's dress, the birthday cake, and the plate, or they can discover such hidden treats as the girl's reflection in the bus mirror. Almost as a bonus, one splendid close-up of the blooms is accompanied by verse identifying five common flowers. This title succeeds both as an introduction to the pleasures of gardening, and as a picture of a family, African American in this case, in which gifts are fashioned by loving hands. Ages 3-6.
An intimate family portrait.
The Boston Globe
An inspiration for younger children and their parents.
From the Publisher
"An intimate family portrait."—Parenting
"An inspiration for younger children and their parents."—The Boston Globe
"Fresh as a daisy."—Publishers Weekly