Monday, September 10, 2012

Nonfiction Monday - Planting the Wild Garden

I've seen a number of books over the years about how seeds move from one place to another. PLANTING THE WILD GARDEN, written by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin, is a beautiful, quiet book that had me hooked from the opening pages. It begins:
The farmer and her boy plant their garden. They drop seeds--tiny, fat, round, and oval--into the earth. From these seeds, pumpkins and peas, carrots and cabbages will grow. In the wild meadow garden, many seeds are planted too, but not by farmer's hands. 
On this first double page spread is a pictures of a woman and her son, both kneeling in the dirt planting seeds. I was most enamored of the illustrations of the growth stages of the pumpkin, carrot, cabbage and pea that border the main illustration.

On the pages that follow are may examples of how wind, water, and animals help seeds disperse. Galbraith uses language that evocatively describes the sounds of the wind (Oooooo--whishhh!), rain Plip-plop!), acorns falling (thump, bump) minnows dining (Gulp! Gulp!) and more. The sentences are simple but so carefully crafted. There is a lovely rhythm to the lines and the story they tell. It all comes full circle when readers learn that people also help to plant the meadow. 

The muted colors and dreamy quality of Halperin's work gives readers much to appreciate. Many of the illustrations beg to be pored over. 

This book is a terrific introduction to seeds, how they travel, and can even be used to introduce the growing stages (life cycle) of plants. I'm using this one with my preservice teachers next week and predict this will become a classroom favorite. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Author: Kathryn O. Galbraith
Illustrator: Wendy Anderson Halperin
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: April, 2011
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-5
ISBN: 978-1561455638
Source of Book: Personal copy

This review was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Books Together and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

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