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Real and Imaginary

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

I celebrated the arrival of my friend Kathryn Galbraith‘s new book Arbor Day Square and then I saw My Garden by Kevin Henkes on the New Book shelf at the Heath Library.

As a former librarian I know it used to be difficult to find books for young children about gardening, whether real gardens with real information, or about imaginary gardens, but happily that seems to be changing. Kevin Henkes is one of my favorites authors and illustrators because he has so much understanding of a child’s ecstatic emotions, happy or sad. In My Garden a little girl is bursting with joyful imagination.

She  helps her mother in a real garden, watering, weeding and chasing away the rabbits. She also imagines her own brilliant garden where the rabbits are chocolate, where there are no weeds, where tomatoes are “as big as beach balls, and the carrots would be invisible because I don’t like carrots.”

Even when we have children helping us with real garden chores on a summer day we should always remember that there may be a lot more going on in their minds than where to dump the weeds or put away the watering can.

3 comments to Real and Imaginary

  • This book and “Arbor Day Square” look like wonderful books to share with children. I enjoy seeing the garden through the eyes of a child, though I have often imagined a garden with no weeds and tomatoes “the size of beach balls” myself. Now if the rabbits would turn into chocolate, that would be perfect:)

  • Nan

    I have a lovely one called The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illus. by David Small. Have you ever seen it?

  • Pat

    Rose – Henkes knows the desires of adults – as well as children.
    Nan – Yes I know The Gardener, another beautiful joyous book about growing plants in a very different place.

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