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Noah's Garden: When Someone You Love Is in the Hospital
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Noah's Garden: When Someone You Love Is in the Hospital

by Mo Johnson, Annabelle Josse (Illustrator)
 
A hospital courtyard garden — and a vivid imagination — are a haven for a young boy as he waits for his baby sister to be well enough to join him.

Noah and his family are living in The Children’s Hospital because his new sister, Jessica, was born with a serious medical condition. Normal family life is suspended indefinitely for Noah, but in

Overview

A hospital courtyard garden — and a vivid imagination — are a haven for a young boy as he waits for his baby sister to be well enough to join him.

Noah and his family are living in The Children’s Hospital because his new sister, Jessica, was born with a serious medical condition. Normal family life is suspended indefinitely for Noah, but in the true spirit of childhood, he spends his days in the hospital garden, creating an imaginary world, longing for the day when Jess can join him.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sensitively told and skillfully illustrated, Johnson's story is pitched toward the very young. It's not just a hospital story, as the title would seem to indicate, but a story specifically about an older sibling's wait for a premature infant. Small, darkhaired Noah whiles away what are clearly weeks of waiting, cared for by his parents and grandparents in the hospital's garden, coping, as children do, by relying on his imagination. "Noah is bathing with tigers again. Soapy tigers. They splash and they flap and they splosh in the pool.... Tigers wash cheerfully in Noah's garden." When Noah expresses impatience ("Please can Jessica play in my garden?"), his parents reassure him without faltering ("Maybe next week," his mother says. "She's with her doctor now"). Debut illustrator Josse's watercolors picture Noah's fantasies with lots of color and bounce, while quieter scenes in which Noah bumps up against reality give vital information about Jessica's circumstances. When Jessica finally appears, Josse zeroes in on Noah, who greets her with joy, while his fantasy creatures peer from behind the bushes; he's going to need them for a while yet. Ages 3-up. (June)
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Noah, a typical toddler, is understandably wrapped up in his own imaginary world, sailing like an airplane whenever he is on the swings or running around fighting pirates in the garden as his grandparents watch over him. In the back of his mind, Noah is wondering, "When can Jessica come to my garden?" His parents are noncommittal: "Maybe next week…. She's with her doctor now." One day Noah makes a wish at a fountain and suddenly there is a surprise. His parents bring baby Jessica out to the garden. Large watercolor illustrations fill the pages. Josse shows Noah expressing feelings that range from sorrow to happiness. However, the plotline will generate more questions than answers, despite the big clue in the subtitle. In aiming for simplicity, Johnson does not make it clear that Noah has probably been playing in the hospital garden day after day for months while the family has been waiting for his baby sister's condition to improve so that she can go home. Two paragraphs of background notes explain these facts on the final page.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Noah has an imaginary garden filled with the flying machines and creatures he loves. It's based on a toy-filled children's garden adjoining the hospital he visits frequently, and someone is missing from both places-his baby sister Jessica, who is very sick. Straightforward text, gentle suspense and realistic watercolors present portions of Noah's real life as he wishes and hopes that his sister will soon come home, while cheerful, onomatopoeic sections describe the garden of Noah's daydreams and colorful, detailed illustrations depict his adventures there. Real-life objects-a fountain, playscapes, emergency helicopters-make their way into his daydreams, binding the two together. The alternating views ring true as they show how a child might feel worried yet still be able to find solace in his imagination, and ultimately they merge in a happy ending. A nice choice to provide comfort for a child experiencing a similar situation, this may also be useful in a therapeutic context. Based on the experiences of an Australian family. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763647827
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
06/08/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Mo Johnson teaches high-school literature and drama and began writing for children in 2005. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, she now lives in Sydney, Australia.

Annabelle Josse makes her picture book debut with NOAH'S GARDEN. She was born in France and now lives in Australia.

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