My First Garden

Overview

An artist revisits his childhood home

In this multilayered story, Tomek Bogacki returns to the small Polish town of his birth and recalls his childhood: the house he grew up in, the streets of the town, his school, the courtyard where he liked to play with his friends. Most of all, he remembers his first garden. It began on a day he rode his bicycle into the countryside and came upon a beautiful courtyard planted with flowers; he returned home...
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2000 Hardcover Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. As New., Hardcover, Large octavo, Unused, in dust jacket. Bright, clean, tight. Color illustrations. Packed and shipped with care.

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Overview

An artist revisits his childhood home

In this multilayered story, Tomek Bogacki returns to the small Polish town of his birth and recalls his childhood: the house he grew up in, the streets of the town, his school, the courtyard where he liked to play with his friends. Most of all, he remembers his first garden. It began on a day he rode his bicycle into the countryside and came upon a beautiful courtyard planted with flowers; he returned home with the seeds of an idea to change a little piece of his world. Frame by frame, in vivid color and detail, readers witness the tending and full flowering of this garden, which started with the simple wish to create something beautiful - the genesis of art in its most basic terms.

Inspired by hearing that a garden used to grow in the yard in front of his house, a boy recreates it with loving care.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The power of memory, not a child's garden, is chiefly the subject of this apparently autobiographical book, narrated by an adult and reflective of an adult sensibility. At the beginning, a man aboard a train sees a town that takes him back to his European childhood--a safe but insular world of red-roofed houses. He recalls how being old enough to ride a bike meant pushing back the boundaries of his circumscribed existence: "The town seemed to get smaller and smaller the further I went." His bicycle trip one day leads him to a garden presided over by a philosophical gardener, and he is inspired to grow his own "magical place" back home. The story comes full circle to the present: the narrator's train arrives at the station, and there waits his son with his bike, ready to talk about his own first garden. The choice of garden as focal point seems arbitrary--the text has the amorphous quality of a reminiscence. The structure is like an album, with large illustrations alternating with beguiling, evocatively captioned vignettes; the vignettes appear to emanate from the main composition, like details emphasized in a memoir. In these ways the book approximates the fragmented recollections of childhood. Similarly, the impressionistic pastels look as if they are in the midst of materializing from out of the past. Like Peter S s's darker, more mystical The Three Golden Keys, this work evokes the sense of a vanished world--but also celebrates the exquisiteness of one's own yearning for it. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
A man's nostalgic journey to his childhood home, where he recalls making something beautiful out of nothing, is vividly recalled in this quiet story. As the train pulls into the station he remembers the street, the house, and friends of his youth, but what he can most accurately remember is the colorful garden he planted and cultivated. As a garden has cycle of its own, so too does this story. When the man descends from the train, his son is waiting. Together they walk home and talk of the garden the boy will make. This introspective, pastoral story with what appears to be a European setting has more adult than child appeal. The soft illustrations have bright accents of red and the author plays with the circular theme, often placing the text in circles. A parent or grandparent could use this as a discussion starter based on his or her own childhood memories. 2000, Frances Foster Books, Ages 6 to 8, $16.00. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
Morgan
[A] lovely story of a young boy whose childhood world expands and flourishes when a chance encounter inspires him to plant a garden...Polish-born author and illustrator Tomek Bodacki is well knows for his Cat and Mouse books, and his muted, impressionistic artwork captures a child's view of the world and its beauty.
The Ruminator Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374325183
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/7/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.94 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomek Bogacki is an internationally recognized author and illustrator of books for children, including the Cat and Mouse books. He lives in New York City.

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