Does it belong to the farmer? Or the bees who pollinate the flowers? Every inhabitant makes the case for ownership in this clever, versified peek at an ecosystem. Delicate watercolors, mostly realistic but with touches of fantasy (a mole wearing overalls and pince-nez, for example), introduce children to a wide variety of garden flora and fauna as well as the important role each plays. (Ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
At the opening of this inviting, oversize picture-book tribute to the ecosystem known as a garden, Mrs. McGee and her stroller-bound companion happen upon a beautifully blooming flower and vegetable garden. The woman wonders whose green thumb can claim ownership of the patch before her. A busy and rather gruff man weeding the gated plot informs her that he is the sole owner: "It's clear as can be!/ The garden you see belongs only to me!/ .../ No one can come here without my permission." But Mrs. McGee soon learns that the human gardener is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. In quick succession a rabbit, woodchuck, bird, worm and various insects as well as the soil, sun and the rain emerge to explain their rightfully important roles in making the garden grow. Hoberman (The Seven Silly Eaters) succeeds in cleverly weaving together a simple story line and numerous facts about animal behavior and the life cycles of a garden within bouncy, rhyming verse, and she ends by letting the audience answer the unexpectedly thorny title question. Dyer's (Time for Bed) soft watercolors depict a rainbow of accurately drawn flowers and vegetables alongside nattily dressed wildlife (even the earthworm sports a chapeau) and a sun sporting sunglasses. In her experienced hands, the results look more edifying than sentimental-akin to a naturalist's notebook mixed with cheery anthropomorphic touches. Ages 3-7. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Strolling with her little grandson and Scotch terrier, Mrs. McGee comes upon an idyllic spot in Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman. However, the lady never gets an answer to the question posed in the title because each denizenthe hoe-wielding human, rabbit, bird, worm and weedclaims the garden belongs to him or her. Toddlers wrestling with the difficulties of sharing will love shouting the refrain "It is mine." Jane Dyer's luminous watercolors capture the lushness of Mother Nature and make clear that the garden is a busily humming thing that profits from and belongs to alleven as the individual critters argue over their own little circle of life. 2004, Gulliver/Harcourt, Ages 2 to 6.
PreS-Gr 1-While Mrs. McGee and her toddler are out walking, they come across a beautiful garden and the woman wonders aloud, "How splendid! How pleasant! How simply exquisite!/This garden is perfect-/But whose garden is it?" There are many answers. A rabbit, a woodchuck, birds, worms, bugs, and a mole all claim it as theirs. Even the rain and the earth call the garden their own. A honeybee states, "I pollinate flowers. It's easy to see/This garden would not even be without me!" After the woman and her child listen to the numerous rhyming declarations, they leave, still wondering about the answer. The large watercolor illustrations are perfect for preschool groups. The evocative pictures complement the excellent text, which leads children to look more closely at nature. Combine this book with Hiawyn Oram's Princess Chamomile's Garden (Dutton, 2000; o.p.) and David L. Harrison's Farmer's Garden (Boyds Mills, 2001) for a summer storytime.-Janet M. Bair, Trumbull Library, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.