When Lily learns about a lottery for land plots to grow Victory Gardens, she tries to apply. But when the garden club president tells her she's too young to participate, Lily refuses to give up. She knows where there's a house with a big yard. The Bishops live in the largest house in town. It also has the largest yard. But the Bishops' son was the first soldier from the town to die in the war. Now Mrs. Bishop has hidden herself away in their house. When Lily asks Mr. Bishop for the use of a small plot within his ...
When Lily learns about a lottery for land plots to grow Victory Gardens, she tries to apply. But when the garden club president tells her she's too young to participate, Lily refuses to give up. She knows where there's a house with a big yard. The Bishops live in the largest house in town. It also has the largest yard. But the Bishops' son was the first soldier from the town to die in the war. Now Mrs. Bishop has hidden herself away in their house. When Lily asks Mr. Bishop for the use of a small plot within his yard, his grudging approval comes with the stern warning, "No bothering Mrs. Bishop." As Lily nurtures her garden, she discovers that the human heart is its own garden, with the same needs for attention and love. A former librarian, Helen L. Wilbur now works on the electronic side of the publishing world. Lily's Victory Garden was inspired by family stories of life on the home front during WWII. Helen also authored M is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet. She lives in New York City. Robert Gantt Steele has illustrated many projects and books about the American experience. He is particularly interested in military and WWII history. Robert lives in northern California.
In the midst of World War II, Lily relies on her precious plants and flowers to bring her a small piece of joy. She learns to be content with the flower box that occupies the third floor window of her family's apartment. She is ecstatic when she learns of an upcoming lottery for land to grow Victory Gardens. Sadly, she discovers that she is far too young to take part, but Lily is not flustered. She is already thinking of a place with a big yard and plenty of space for her very own garden: The Bishop's home. The Bishops, who are going through their own private struggle of losing their son in the war, initially reject her request to use some of their land, but Mrs. Bishop relents. Lily plants her seeds, and soon the garden is full of beets, beans, peas, and watermelon. Surprises pop up here and there, like a lovely straw hat that greets Lily early one morning or the little bench that rests near the garden. An unlikely friendship begins to form between two unsuspecting souls, and along with it comes a little healing. This story was inspired by Wilbur's own experiences in the garden. Steele's illustrations are subtle yet powerful. This book would be an excellent tool to use while teaching the upper elementary grades the art of writing a memoir. It is poignant; the language creates several vivid and personal images that will bring the story to life. It will also make a great read aloud for several social studies and science units. Students will enjoy this excellent cross-curricular tool. Reviewer: Summer Whiting
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—During World War II, Lily collects tin cans with her brother to help with the war effort. Their last stop is always at the house of the Bishops, whose son was the first soldier from their town to die in battle. Lily takes note of the beautiful flowers in the untended yard and longs for a garden of her own. It seems that her dream might come true when she hears that the town park will be turned into Victory Garden plots, to be given to winners of a lottery. Lily applies but is told that she doesn't qualify, so she obtains Mr. Bishop's reluctant permission to create her own garden in his yard, on the condition that she doesn't bother his wife. Lily spends several days planting seeds, hoeing, and watering, and soon Mrs. Bishop begins to help. Everything goes well until the woman slips in the mud and her husband becomes angry. Lily races home in disgrace, but later Mr. Bishop comes by to apologize. He hadn't realized how happy his once-grieving wife had been when she was working in the garden. The lovely, realistic watercolor paintings capture the text well, and back matter explains other aspects of the American home front. This story, told from Lily's point of view, is beautifully rendered, emphasizing how tragedy can be surmounted.—Donna Atmur, Los Angeles Public Library