In the Children's Garden

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9780805019582: In the Children's Garden
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Offers a full-color, lyrical invitation to a special children's garden in the city that will inspire young readers to plant their own gardens anywhere. Children's BOMC.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 2-A noble but ultimately unsuccessful effort. From the welcoming open gate in the first pages to the final invitation to plant something of one's own (even in a flower pot), there is a curious lack of harmony between text and illustrations. The children, flowers, and vegetables are shown as slightly angular and sketchy, and don't seem to fit the urban oasis landscape. And when the text suggests some movement or recognizable scene, the pictures do not necessarily match. The "well-worn tools" are drawn garden-store fresh with shiny white plastic handles; the worms are never seen "tunneling in the deep, dark dirt" aerating the soil, but only in a blue box labeled WORMS. From the dusk jacket, readers learn that this is in fact an actual children's garden in Seattle. But from the text, they hear only "old city park" and see atypical Mediterranean style buildings rather than an inner-urban neighborhood. The children depicted have no ethnic diversity, unusual for any American city. The sense of community that such a project might inspire is also missing from the story's mood. Although the words are soft, the pictures are not. This book needs more room to grow.
Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Both author and illustrator make promising picture-book debuts in this lyrical paean to a Seattle children's garden. Schaefer includes some specifics (the ``deep, dark dirt, rich with rotted grass, apple peels, and onionskins, is tunneled through by worms who wriggle it loose, and give it air'') but dwells more on sensory effects: the sounds of tools in dirt, the feel of patting the earth, the moisture of well-soaked beds ``under the sizzling sun,'' the lush effect of all the crops together; and while she acclaims the garden's welcoming fecundity, she doesn't really convey the children's sense of accomplishment. Pauley reflects the celebratory tone in freewheeling pencil and dazzling colors. Few of her flora are recognizable, but she does capture the sun-dappled green, an exuberant spray of water, and the garden's joyful aura with impressionistic panache. Not essential, but an interesting and well-matched pair of first efforts. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Carole Lexa Schaefer, Lynn Pauley
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Carole Lexa Schaefer; Lynn Pauley
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