Who Is in the Garden?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Leafy, verdant watercolors conjure a child-size Eden in Rosenberry's (When Vera Was Sick) sprightly ramble of a picture book. Tucked behind a stone wall surrounding a thatched-roof cottage (the opening vista of an English country garden is sure to delight the heart of Anglophiles), a bouquet of natural delights awaits a young visitor, first seen flitting through the open gate. "Who is in the garden?" poses the text, as readers follow the boy on his circuit of discovery. From wrens that "weave their way, in and out, in and out" of birches to a garter snake concealed in a grape arbor and "wiggly pink worms squiggling all through the dirt," there's much to see and hear. The simple story line comes full circle in a final spread of the boy hiding in a bean vine teepeeDsurrounded by a sort of visual chorus composed of all the aforementioned flora and faunaDto become himself the mysterious "who" in the garden. Rosenberry offers both rhythm ("Listen for songs in the cosmos and thyme as honeybees hum to and fro from their hives") and texture ("chattering birds crack the crunchy, striped seeds"), while her artwork is informed by a naturalist's eye for detail. Delicate, precise brush strokes blend with an impressionist's appreciation of light to create a most welcoming retreat. Budding gardeners may be inspired to launch impromptu explorations of their own backyards. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-K-Who is in the garden? Various birds and insects, a snake, a field mouse, and a turtle, sometimes hiding among the many flowers, trees, vegetables, and fruits. Clear, finely detailed watercolors define the setting of this appealing, sometimes wild garden. The pictures are from the perspective of the garden's explorer, a lively and curious African-American child. The spare text speaks to this child (and incidentally to the listener): "On round, crisp cabbage, a stiff mantis sits so still-so still-she hopes you can't see her. But you can." There is no plot or drama here, just an enjoyable garden tour.-Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rosenberry's three recent books (Vera Runs Away, 2000, etc.) about an irrepressible little girl named Vera have an undeniable charm with a unique main character, believable illustrations, and strong plot lines. Unfortunately, Vera isn't present in this latest offering, replaced by a nameless little boy who lacks Vera's spunk, and in fact, lacks much personality at all. The boy tours his backyard garden, observing and describing ordinary animals and insects camouflaged in their own particular environments. On the last double-page spread (and on the cover), the boy himself is camouflaged in a pole tent of green bean vines, providing a mildly surprising answer to the question posed in the title. The uninspired text plods through the garden on flat feet, alternating between straightforward descriptions of the garden inhabitants and rather confusing second-person commands to continue exploring in different ways. Rosenberry plays with unusual perspectives in her illustrations, which result in the boy sometimes looking two feet tall and two years old. Her watercolors of flora and fauna are pretty, but the little boy's age, facial features, and hair are not uniform throughout the book. The boy also looks rather bored, an effect that is likely to be shared by children listening to this story. Wait for Vera's next adventure. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415298
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.35 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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