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by Elise Primavera

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bertie, a solitary junk collector, discovers the joys of horticulture-and companionship-in this offbeat picture book. While surveying his odd array of junk, Bertie finds what seems to be a plant in a cage, which bears the sign ``Turn This Cage Daily.'' Bertie follows the directions and the mossy-looking object grows and changes-until it walks right out of the cage and helps Bertie with the gardening. Not quite knowing what to think, Bertie names his new friend Plantpet. The two get on well until Plantpet gets a little overzealous with his digging and Bertie exiles the green guy to the farthest corner of the garden. Later, of course, he realizes he misses having Plantpet around. Primavera (The Three Dots) spins another quirky tale that celebrates buddydom. Her unadorned, declarative style keeps the writing both simple and snappy. Plantpet's scraggly earth-leaf form and Bertie's blooming garden act as bright spots in the artwork, and, although the palette is generally darker than in Primavera's previous books, lush background colors illuminate the pages. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A delightfully silly, engaging book that calls to mind The Little Shop of Horrors, although the plant protagonist in this story is benevolent. Bertie, like the human caretaker in the film, is mild-mannered and eccentric. One morning he awakens to find a caged plant with a note that reads, ``Turn this cage daily.'' He does so, and Plantpet changes and grows until it walks right out of its cage. Together, they create a garden anyone would be proud of. But the now-enormous creature gets carried away digging, and Bertie banishes it to a far-away corner. Soon the man grows lonely and returns to find Plantpet a shrunken shell of its former self. In a stroke of genius, he digs a hole and plants it. It thrives and the two friends live happily ever after. Primavera reinforces the plot with gorgeous, surrealistic illustrations. Bertie's bell-bottomed jeans are an especially goofy touch. The dark hour of the tale is illustrated in deep blues and purples; lighter moments are done in a lighter palette. Here's a relationship between a plant and a human in which the former's gender is not revealed, and the latter comes to learn how to better care for his companion. With the perennial debate of the sexism in Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree (HarperCollins, 1964), this title is a welcome addition to any collection.-Lynn Cockett, Nutley Public Library, NJ

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

ELISE PRIMAVERA has illustrated many books for children, including the bestselling Auntie Claus, which she also wrote, and Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen, which was honored with the Christopher Award. She lives in New Jersey.

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