Monday, June 7, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Gardening books for kids

It has become clear to me that we need a few more gardening books in our juvenile nonfiction. Last year, I added The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening by Karyn Morris. This is, of course, the best kids' gardening book. Naturally, since it is Kids Can Press. Unfortunately, it's their only gardening book and I have lots of requests! So I borrowed a couple books from other libraries to see if I could find something else to add.

Wildlife Gardening by Martyn Cox has the widest variety of projects. Being a DK Publishers book, it of course has tons of gorgeous photographs, symbols, and factoids. In fact, there's so much information and so many projects that it's a bit crammed full and spilling over. There doesn't appear to be any information or notes on what does or doesn't grow in certain climates, so you'll have to know your area before trying any of these projects. Also, it recommends honeysuckle in several spots and certain varieties, especially Japanese honeysuckle are, I believe, considered majorly invasive species. However, I think this book was originally published in England and possibly honeysuckle isn't a problem there. I did really like the section on hedges, as I personally aspire to having my own hedge someday.

Organic Gardening For Kids by Elizabeth Scholl is a good introduction to the reasons for organic gardening and some basic precepts, but it's very text-heavy and there's really only one large project - creating an organic garden. It does have a very thorough approach though, talking about planning, climates, pest control, and more. The official reviews complained about the poor photography, but I haven't seen any other organic gardening for kids so....This would be a good resource for parents and children to work on together.

Kids' Container Gardening by Cindy Krezel has a long list of gardening projects the reader can do in containers. The projects are divided into four sections, one for each season. The introduction includes climate zones, basic supplies, and suggestions for recycled containers. The projects range from various selections that do well in pots to weirder projects like rooting plants in a cocktail glass in moisture crystals. There are a couple problems with this book, asides from my personal reaction of "why do you need a book for container gardening? just get yourself some pots and seeds!". There's a major typo on page 31, the photographs seem to mainly showcase smiling kids with finished projects - the photographs that did show steps didn't seem very clear to me, and the book is only available in either paperback or reinforced binding for $26. At least on my vendor.

Oh, and here's the treasure of this books has a typo, "pristeen" instead of "pristine". I can't find, even though I went back and looked through them all again....can you find it?

Verdict: I'll probably get Wildlife Gardening and maybe Organic Gardening for the library this summer. I'd still like to find some better gardening books and I may consider just buying additional copies of the Kids Can Press Jumbo Gardening Book. I'd like to see them doing an organic one, like they did with their Jumbo Cooking Book and Jumbo Vegetarian Cooking Book for kids.

Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening
ISBN: 1550746901; Published February 2000 by Kids Can Press (out of print); Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Wildlife Gardening
ISBN: 978-0756650896; Published March 2009 by DK; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

Organic Gardening
ISBN: 978-1584158158; Published June 2009 by Mitchell Lane; Borrowed from the library

Kids' Container Gardening
ISBN: 978-1883052751; Published April 2010 by Ball Publishing; Borrowed from the library


Charlotte said...

everyone, I think, should get to have a hedge of their own.

(I knew lots of pristeens in high school...)

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Isn't that a quote from one of Jane Austen's books? About a family of lesser means, who "aspire to a hedge" i.e. a grand estate.

I too, aspire to a hedge. I think everyone does, right?

Playing by the book said...

One of the first things I did when we moved to our current home, and got our own garden for the first time was plant a hedge - lots of native species. 6 years on and it's now coming into its own with berries and blossom, and a place much loved by the garden birds.

And yes, honeysuckle isn't seen as a problem here - it's an quintessential "cottage garden" flower - much loved!