The opening spread of Ray's (Hokusai) well-conceived picture book shows a winter scene and an empty house up the street from narrator Lily's, where her grandparents lived before they moved from Maine to California. Even though they will not be reunited until Christmas, the bond between Lily and her grandparents remains strong, thanks to their shared love of gardening. Ray traces their communications from January to December (one month per spread). As Lily describes the progress of her outdoor efforts, Grandma responds with tips and encouragement. In June, for instance, " `I always loved bunnies. Now, I know why Grandpa sometimes calls them pesky critters,' I told Grandma." The accompanying scene depicts Lily at the moment she discovers the remains of her lettuce, as the cotton-tailed thieves make their escape. Grandma advises, "Ask Mom to put camphor balls around your garden. The smell makes the bunnies stay away." Related sidebars on the left of each spread offer additional information about gardening and related topics: a recipe for blueberry pancakes for August and, for November, a brief history of harvest celebrations. Ray's realistic artwork portrays the way light changes from the fluorescence of winter to the orange glow that blankets the world in autumn. An accessible guide to gardening and a constructive way to cope with an absent loved one. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Lily's grandparents have gone to California and it will be a year before she sees them again. During the twelve-month separation, they share treats and gardening advice. In January, Lily receives oranges from her grandparents and in February, she helps her dad tap trees to make maple syrup to send to California. Throughout the year Lily plans, plants, weeds, and harvests a variety of fruits and vegetables. In addition to the story, the spreadsheet for each month offers the reader a text box loaded with information. In July, readers learn about watermelons, August includes a recipe for blueberry pancakes, and September features apples. By Christmas, Lily is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her beloved grandparents and the reader learns about various types of evergreens. Follow Lily throughout the year as she learns and shares her findings about nature. Lovely pencil and pastel illustrations capture the essence of each season and invite readers to share in the cycle of planting and harvesting. Ray's lovely book will surely tap the interest of young gardeners and their grandparents. 2002, Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press,
K-Gr 3-One January, after her grandparents move from their wintry home in Maine to California, they send Lily a box of oranges. From February's maple syrup, March's pea planting, and April's daffodils to fall harvest and December's tree hunt, the child goes through the seasons on the farm, thinking about the activities she used to share with them. Finally, the Christmas tree is decorated with the help of her grandparents, who are back for the holidays. Kogan-Ray's soft pastel and colored-pencil drawings cheerfully depict the girl's gentle and bright world. Each spread includes a box with relevant information, such as how to make syrup, pumpkin lore, and recipes for blueberry pancakes and zucchini bread. Team this up with Donald Hall's Ox-Cart Man (Viking, 1979) and Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's A Farm of Her Own (Dutton, 2001) for an engaging unit on New England farms, old and new.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
A composed and illuminating passage through a year of gardening on a Maine farm. Lily conducts readers through the seasons at her Maine home via a series of letters she writes to her grandmother, who has moved to California. Understandably, there is not much gardening going on in January, when snow blankets the ground and Lily is more concerned with maple sugaring than weeding. But soon enough it is time for seedlings to be started, daffodils to be cut, and the garden to be prepared. As readers are ushered through the months, one per double-paged spread, they will learn facts-displayed in sidebars-about certain garden produce, carefully chosen for their capacity to impress (as when colonials referred to apples as winter bananas and where the tradition of jack-o'-lanterns came from). They will also walk away with a whole complement of gardening tips, like putting buckets over tomato plants to keep them warm on spring nights and dropping camphor balls around lettuce to discourage rabbits. Ray's art, expressive, informative, and filled with detail, is perfectly suited to the natural setting. Not least, Lily's enthusiasm is catching and may well provoke a few more seedlings to be incubated in late-winter windows. (Picture book. 4-8)