Monday, June 6, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Let's Garden! A step by step introduction by Clara Lidstrom and Annakarin Nyberg, illustrated by Katy Kimbell and Li Soderberg, translated by Viktoria Lindback

As our library garden project finally starts getting off the ground (We have a contractor for the fence! Maybe! We are drawing up plans for the butterfly garden! Ok, Jess is, but I am supervising.) I am focusing on adding a wide variety of new and classic gardening books to the children's section. In a way, it's a difficult section to add to because it's hard to focus on books for such a hands-on type of activity. However, I have found several that address different aspects of gardening.

One of the things we want to focus on in our children's garden/outdoor educational space is letting kids be hands-on and experiment. This book is the perfect accompaniment for that philosophy since it strongly encourages kids to try the projects on their own! Besides a brief note to ask a grown-up for help with sharp tools, the kids are encouraged to try things on their own and work them out themselves.

The projects are a mix of craft and gardening; They include painting pots and planting greens to grow "hair", several varied planting projects, feeding birds, bean projects, cutting slips to plant, growing and cooking food, and foraging for edibles (grown-up supervision advised). There are also some more unique projects, like planting a rabbit's poop to see what they've been eating, transplanting a weed, and I have to admit to being a little doubtful on the suggestion of watering sunflowers with urine but hey, if it works...

The book is illustrated throughout with charming, simple drawings and collaged photos. Only three children are shown, but they are the authors' children who inspired the book so I don't fault the lack of diversity there. Each instruction has its own little illustration, helping kids who struggle with reading to follow along in the projects. There are a few things that may be unfamiliar to non-European children; the use of the metric system and some ingredients/tools, but they are easily explained by the context and, since the point of the book is for kids to try things themselves, this would be a great opportunity for them to experiment and/or do a little research!

It reminded me a little of Christina Bjork's Linnea books, especially Linnea's Almanac and Linnea's Windowsill Garden. In short, I loved this and can't wait to introduce it to our little gardeners and let them get their hands dirty!

Verdict: This is a much-needed addition to the subject of children's gardening, introducing a fun variety of projects and encouraging kids to learn and grow on their own. It's a little more expensive than the average nonfiction hardcover, but definitely worth the money and has more content than many comparable library-bound series. Recommended.

ISBN: 9783899557473; Published 2016 by Little Gestalten; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

1 comment:

Annette Bay Pimentel said...

My daughter loves reading our copy of Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots, but all the projects there are multi-month projects. Sounds like this book would answer her yen for something to do TODAY.