My Backyard Garden

My Backyard Garden

by Carol Lerner

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What better way for beginners to learn the basics of vegetable gardening than with noted botanist Carol Lerner as their guide. In My Backyard Garden, she covers everything from planting the seeds to harvesting the crops. This easy-to-follow, fully illustrated handbook helps youngsters enjoy the pleasures of gardening, whether they have a green thumb or…  See more details below


What better way for beginners to learn the basics of vegetable gardening than with noted botanist Carol Lerner as their guide. In My Backyard Garden, she covers everything from planting the seeds to harvesting the crops. This easy-to-follow, fully illustrated handbook helps youngsters enjoy the pleasures of gardening, whether they have a green thumb or not!

Author Biography:

If Carol Lerner were asked to list three reasons why she started writing and illustrating books for children, she would probably say the Morton Arboretum, Joshua, and Jesse. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, is one of the few institutions in the country that offers instruc-tion in botanical illustration on a regular basis. Over the years, Ms. Lerner had taken courses in botany, the local flora, birds of the Midwest, and other aspects of nature, but she hesitated to join the illustration class because the members seemed very accomplished. "Finally I gave it a try," she says. I continued attending for the next three years; then I felt ready to do something with my skills. I thought of illustrating children's books because they would offer more variety than strictly scientific illustration. "

Joshua and Jesse are Ms. Lerner's sons, now grown. "Initially my husband, Ralph, and I introduced them to birds and plants, but this realm of experience took such a tremendous grip on their interests and imaginations, they became expert birders [bird-watchers] and very savvy all-around naturalists on their own. All through their childhood years, their curiosity sparked my interest in the natural world."

The first book Ms. Lerner wrote and illustrated was On the Forest Edge. An ecological portrait of the animal and plant life found at the forest edge, it was given an award for Special Artistic Merit by the Friends of American Writers. Ms. Lerner's third, fourth, and fifth books, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie, A Biblical Garden, and Pitcher Plants, were named ALA Notable Books, as was Tree Flowers, which she illustrated. Plant Families was named a New York Academy of Sciences Honor Book. Among her recent titles are Cactus, Dumb Cane and Daffodils, A Forest Year and Moonseed and Mistletoe, all of which are NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children. Her critically acclaimed Backyard Birds of Winter has recently been followed by Backyard Birds Of Summer.

Carol and Ralph Lerner live in Chicago. Summers and weekends are spent at their house in rural Indiana, where they are surrounded by forests and wetlands. "Wild birds are at our doorstep. There's a swamp across the road that is frog heaven. And I finally have enough space to realize the garden of my dreams. I garden with a certain passion." The same passion is evident in Carol Lerner's fine ecological portraits.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Porter
This book guides the beginning gardener from setting up his garden in late winter through the harvest in the fall. In addition to offering general information on gardens, two specific gardens are followed through each month. The book includes diagrams and descriptions of common pests and weeds, as well as suggestions for handling them. The book also covers such topics as selecting plants for your garden, harvesting recommended plants, and storing the harvest. Detailed drawings add to both the appeal and the usefulness of the book. Not intended to serve as the lone resource of a child gardener, the book will not replace the expert advice of a parent or other experienced gardener. However, it is a good general resource to help a child understand the skills needed for gardening.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6The picture-book format of this title belies its thoroughness, but as soon as readers open it, the riches begin to appear. Lerner uses her background in botany and botanical illustration to provide an additional dimension to the adventure of starting one's own vegetable garden. Readers are instructed on how to choose a site, prepare the ground, make a plan, select plants and seeds, and deal with pests and problems. Two different plans are offered, varying in size and kinds of vegetables; they are shown in both spring and summer, since crops are planted at different times. After the preparation is discussed there is a procedural chapter for each month, March through October. In April, for instance, the specific vegetable plants and their parts are described and shown in meticulous watercolor and pencil illustrations. The specific pests and weeds that may appear, as well as how to recognize them and deal with them without chemicals, are discussed. Difficulties are not minimized, but by the end of the book, readers are likely to be ready for the challenge of growing their own food and learning about the related flora and fauna. Marjorie Waters's The Victory Garden Kids' Book (Globe Pequot, 1994) is also excellent; it includes more vegetables but fewer weeds and pests. Having both books would be just right.Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME
Kirkus Reviews
An aesthetically pleasing year-round guide to gardening; Lerner (Backyard Birds of Summer, 1996, etc.) takes a well-organized, sensible approach to growing. The first half of the book covers aspects of organic gardening, beginning with choosing a site, formulating a plan for preparing the ground, testing the soil, composting, and combating unwelcome pests. Sample spring and summer layouts are presented in diagrams of "Paul's" garden and "Lori's" garden, to demonstrate possibilities for gardens of differing sizes as well as the inclusion of cool and warm weather crops. The progress of each fictitious garden is then tracked through the months. The latter half of the book addresses monthly stages of gardening from March through October; frost charts and insets show how to identify seedlings, weeds, and pests, with instructions for what to plant when, from the first onion to the last pumpkin. Helpful tips sprout up in context, e.g., about using soap and human hair to discourage deer and placing powdered milk in a jar with seed packets to prolong their life span. The narrative, more useful as an overview than as a handbook, is laced with delicate watercolor illustrations that are as ornamental as they are instructive. A handsome atlas for the more intent diggers of dirt. (maps, charts, diagrams, index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.28(w) x 12.12(h) x 0.41(d)
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

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