Lulu Crow's Garden: A Silly old Story with Brand-New Pictures

Lulu Crow's Garden: A Silly old Story with Brand-New Pictures

by Lizi Boyd

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fresh colors and amiable animals invite readers into this whimsical book, which is based on L. Leslie Brooke's 1903 Johnny Crow's Garden. Here, all the action takes place in Lulu Crow's garden, represented by a structured background of violet-blue sky, soft-green hedge and honeydew-colored lawn. The story begins with Lulu Crow planting flowers and vegetables, then becomes a parade of Lulu's unusual acquaintances, among them Crane, Beaver and Goat. The text is comprised of near non sequiturs ("the Mouse/ Built a House,/ Where the Cat sat on a Mat/ In Lulu Crow's Garden"). The characters accept each new development with stuffed-animal serenity, their moods seldom shifting. At the conclusion, all 13 friends sit down "in one big Row," where readers can name and count them. Boyd (What Would You Do if You Lived at the Zoo?) meets the playfulness of the rhyme with deceptively childlike gouaches; her images are in fact highly organized. The animals and greenery have wavy, organic shapes, but solid layers of paint give the art an almost stenciled look. A sunny mood, befitting the summertime setting, suffuses the proceedings from start to finish. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. Pettenati
The illustrations are charming in this "silly old story with brand new pictures." (The book jacket refers to the picture book Johnny Crow's Garden, which was written by L. Leslie Brooke and published in 1903.) The cast of characters in this nonsensical, rhyming story is pleasing to look at: Lulu crow, the lion with a "green and yellow tie on," and the rat with a "feather in his hat," etcetera. However, the story itself doesn't hold much appeal beyond the colorful animals who randomly come together in the garden. Young children may be bored after several readings.
School Library Journal
PreS-KL. Leslie Brooke's Johnny Crow's Garden has been slightly updated and told from the point of view of a sleek, black, female counterpart. Here, Lulu Crow industriously plants her own garden but has more or less the same array of animal visitors with the same rhyming problems. The gouache pictures are colorful and certain to attract young eyes. Is this book, however, an improvement over the original? Not really. Boyd is a talented artist but her work here is just not as detailed or amusing as Brooke's. The original classic, along with the sequels, is still available in libraries. It did not need to be redone.Jackie Hechtkopf, Talent House School, Fairfax, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The host to a set of feathered and furry friends in his garden is supplanted by the female Lulu Crow in this retelling of Johnny Crow's Garden (1903), with full-color gouache paintings to replace the original droll pen-and-ink line drawings by Leslie Brooke. The text is essentially the same, still appearing in rhymed couplets, "And the Lion/Had a green-and-yellow Tie on/In Lulu Crow's Garden." Some repetition of the refrain is cut to shorten the story; a few words and ideas that may not be familiar to contemporary children have been modified. Instead of Fox putting all the animals in stocks, they're shut inside a blue box; the stork no longer gives a philosophic talk, nor does the elephant say something irrelevant. Boyd's simplified shapes may lack the range of human expression that so characterizes the original, but the illustrator makes up for it in playful details: Lion lounging on a garden bench; Crane sporting an umbrella in the rain; and Pig dancing on a jig. Blocks of pastel colors are rolled out like swatches of fabric to create a stretch of sea-green lawn or a patch of periwinkle-blue sky. Tiger lilies, sunflowers, hollyhocks, and morning glories serve as props that brighten each background. Young ones will enjoy the superficially silly rhyme, but don't let them miss the nonsense of the original. (Picture book. 2-5)

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.37(w) x 10.45(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

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