A Gardener's Alphabet

Overview

With her signature woodblock prints, the Caldecott medalist Mary Azarian invites readers into her own garden to discover its simple joys. Revealing the variety of life underground, the bright comfort of a greenhouse on a winter’s day, or the anticipation of starting seeds indoors in early spring, this striking alphabet book reminds us that gardens are perhaps our best way to live closer to the land and to the rhythm of the seasons.

An alphabet book featuring words ...

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Overview

With her signature woodblock prints, the Caldecott medalist Mary Azarian invites readers into her own garden to discover its simple joys. Revealing the variety of life underground, the bright comfort of a greenhouse on a winter’s day, or the anticipation of starting seeds indoors in early spring, this striking alphabet book reminds us that gardens are perhaps our best way to live closer to the land and to the rhythm of the seasons.

An alphabet book featuring words associated with gardening, including bulbs, compost, digging, insects, and weeds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Caldecott Medal-winning artist applies her signature artwork to a tour of the garden from A for "Arbor," where a mother reads to her child, to Z for a giant "Zucchini!" harvest. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This humorous alphabetical ode to gardening and gardeners glistens with details reflecting Azarian's lifelong love of gardens. In an essential preface, she states that after forty years, she's almost learned to garden and indicates her love of the tasks the garden poses for her. The alphabet book avoids cliche--no A is for Apple here. Instead, a mother and daughter read in the Arbor or heap garbage on the Compost; pumpkins make a Harvest; Lawn Ornaments includes the ubiquitous flamingos and windmills; a woman shovels Manure; and two people huff and sway under the weight of a huge Zucchini. A wonderful present to an avid gardener, the book works as an alphabet book for older children as well as an artistic treat as Azarian's trademark painted woodblock prints are full of detail, humor, and variety. 2000, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 4 to Adult, $16.00. Reviewer: Susan Hepler—Children's Literature
Children's Literature
Her book Snowflake Bentley won the Caldecott and this offering is also filled with wonderful woodcuts that have been hand-tinted in watercolors. In her introduction, Mary relates how important gardens have been in her life and being married to an avid gardener myself, what she says rings true. Her pictures are a celebration of the flowers, tools, creatures, activities and types of displays a gardener would encounter and create. It is an alphabet book, but that is not its strength; the alphabet is just a way of organizing the images. The pictures are a delight and they offer plenty of opportunity for discussion. Kids will be stretched by encountering some unfamiliar terms, but they should also delight in the activities and wonderful details contained in Mary's pictures. 2000, Houghton, Ages 5 up, $16.00. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-True, there are great numbers of alphabet books, but when they are works of art they rise beyond teaching the letters. A Gardener's Alphabet is one of these. Azarian leads readers into the book with a two-page introduction that explains the importance of gardens in her life. The alphabet then begins, with one full-page illustration for each letter. The featured letter does not stand alone, but begins one word: "ARBOR," "BULBS," "COMPOST." The words are a mixture of nouns ("LAWN ORNAMENTS," "QUEEN ANNE'S LACE"); verbs ("DIG," "NIBBLE"); and types of gardens ("JAPANESE GARDEN," "KITCHEN GARDEN"). Words that may be unfamiliar to most children are not explained, e.g., "TOPIARY" and "XERISCAPE." The stunning black woodcuts, hand tinted with strong watercolors, are full of action and detail, showing men, women, and child gardeners with their tools and the rewards of their labors, with small creatures visible here and there. Each page can inspire conversation between an adult and child who may then do some gardening of their own.-Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From the Publisher
The stunning black woodcuts, hand tinted with strong watercolors, are full of action and detail, showing men, women, and child gardeners with their tools and the rewards of their labors, with small creatures visible here and there. Each page can inspire conversation between an adult and child who may then do some gardening of their own.
School Library Journal

“Each print pulls back the curtain on a charming country scene, a stand-alone tableau telling the tale of a gardening-related word. . . . Mary Azarian knows gardening from her Wellingtons up, and her knowledge and love show in her artwork.”—New York Times Book Review New York Times Book Review Notable Book

“As satisfying for young armchair gardeners as a seed catalog in winter, and inspiration for all gardeners to get out there and begin digging.”—Boston Sunday Globe Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618548811
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/4/2005
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 469,443
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.81 (w) x 10.63 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian is a consummate gardener and a skilled and original woodblock artist. Many of her prints are heavily influenced by her love of gardening, and her turn-of-the-century farmhouse is surrounded by gardens that reveal an artist's vision. Mary Azarian received the 1999 Caldecott Medal for SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. She lives, skis, and gardens in Vermont.

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