My Garden

( 9 )

Overview

The girl in this book grows chocolate rabbits, tomatoes as big as beach balls, flowers that change color, and seashells in her garden.

How does your garden grow?

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Overview

The girl in this book grows chocolate rabbits, tomatoes as big as beach balls, flowers that change color, and seashells in her garden.

How does your garden grow?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book
"With its adroit look at a child’s colorful imagination, My Garden is as fresh and inviting as spring after winter."
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
What would your very own garden look like and what would you grow? The girl in the story describes how she helps her mother care for their garden by watering the plants, removing the weeds, and chasing the rabbits who like to nibble at the lettuce. If she could have her way, however, her garden would be free of weeds and flowers would never die, but that is not all. In her imaginary garden, flowers would change colors and patterns by thinking, rabbits would be made of chocolate for eating, and jelly beans would grow on bushes for harvesting. Find out what else is growing in this dream garden. Enjoy the beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations on every layout. There is a dreamy, fantasy effect with its pastel colors and blue lines of the pictures which fill the pages and support the text. The book jacket features the girl, and a sunflower is featured on the cover of the book. The endpages are decorated with sunflowers as well. This book is a pleasing story that plays with the imagination of the audience. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
Kristi Jemtegaard
Kevin Henkes tells a simple but lyrical story…
—The Washington Post
Julie Just
Even down to the endpapers (silvery outlines of sunflowers against blue), Henkes's new book is a luminous wonder.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Spring colors of lilac, daffodil yellow, pale blue, and leafy green bloom in Caldecott Medalist Henkes’s fanciful account of the great outdoors. “My mother has a garden. I’m her helper,” explains a girl, who wears a petunia-pink dress and a golden straw hat. She dutifully waters and weeds, “but if I had a garden,” she says, things would be less predictable. Gazing up at sunflowers, she giggles to imagine them colored in dots and plaids. She picks a flower and, in her perfect garden, another pops right up. Seashells and jelly beans sprout, disliked vegetables are invisible, and pests are not a problem: “the rabbits would be chocolate and I would eat them.” At this, the girl nibbles a bunny, surrounded by cocoa rabbits wearing telltale ribbons. Henkes gives the young storyteller a matter-of-fact voice and a sly sense of humor, while dewy watercolors and ink picture her reveling in a magical world of plants, birds, and butterflies. Even as the story elevates the wonders of nature into the realm of the fanciful, it reminds readers to appreciate everyday flowers and soil. Ages 2–7. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
A little girl enjoys helping her mother in her garden, but she knows if she had a garden, it would be something else entirely: no weeds, ever-blooming multicolored flowers with hues she can change with just a thought, chocolate rabbits instead of pests and so on. "If I planted seashells, I'd grow seashells. / ... / Sometimes in my garden, good, unusual things would just pop up-buttons, and umbrellas and rusty old keys." With a neat, square trim and sunny, pastel palette, this intimate exploration of a child's burgeoning imagination hits every note right. Sketching his outlines with broad, blue ink strokes, Henkes modulates his watercolors beautifully from bright daylight to dreamy firefly-light. Before going in for bed, she plants a seashell-and the artist validates every child's imagination with his final image. Just plain perfect. (Picture book. 3-7)
Horn Book (starred review)
“With its adroit look at a child’s colorful imagination, My Garden is as fresh and inviting as spring after winter.”
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Imagination grows and spreads from the fertile pages of this book to the minds of young readers. Henkes's familiar illustration style invites children into a most unusual garden. It never needs weeding, the flowers are ever-blooming, and colors change just by thinking of them (even into patterns). "In my garden, rabbits wouldn't eat the lettuce because the rabbits would be chocolate and I would eat them." Jelly beans would grow on bushes. Tomatoes would be the size of beach balls, but "carrots would be invisible because I don't like carrots!" Intense pastel colors and soft navy outlines bring the perfect garden to life. Colors splash across the pages, matching the enthusiasm of the text. The vibrancy and size of the artwork make this an excellent choice for groups, large or small. A must for every library.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061715174
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 146,837
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautiful illustrations

    My daughter loves this book. It has wonderful illustration, very colorful and a good story to read aloud.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2010

    2010 Summer Reading

    We have a garden at home and I thought that my 5 year old daughter would like the book. To my surprise she was irritated and said the book was silly because you can't grow seashells. She didn't want to buy the book but I thought that it was cute but can see how she thought that it was confusing and full of "lies."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Henkes is amazing

    yet another example of why my kids know and love Kevin Henkes. He knows how to connect with kids and their wonderful imaginations. My daughter is still talking about planting seashells....Beautiful illustrations, too. Thanks, Mr. Henkes!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2010

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    Posted March 12, 2010

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    Posted June 25, 2010

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    Posted May 5, 2011

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    Posted July 17, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

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