Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Garden by Kevin Henkes - Book Review and stART

The sun managed to shine a few beams down this past week. Such a welcome sight considering that the snowman we built early last December still has not completely melted! It's been a long winter here and we are ready for some warmer, spring weather. Pretty soon those spring garden flowers will add color to the landscape, spreading cheer and happiness. We had a head start on the season with a brand new spring garden themed picture book, just released this week by Wisconsin author Kevin Henkes.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, move over. There's a new girl in the garden -- a happy, little daydreamer who envisions chocolate rabbits, jelly bean bushes and seashell fields. Kevin Henkes sows the seeds of imagination and illustrates with colors of spring in his newest picture book, My Garden. A barefoot little girl helps her mother in a cheery garden by watering and weeding the plants. All the while, she fantasies about her ideal garden.
"In my garden, the flowers could change color just by my thinking about it -- pink, blue, green purple. Even patterns."
The little girl's vast imagination takes readers beyond the restraints of the world, into a extraordinary place where the flowers never die and where umbrellas conveniently pop out of the ground just as the spring rain begins. Kevin Henkes adds another feather to his brimming hat with this beautiful book. His spectacular, watercolor illustrations overflow the pages with creative page layout. Fanciful images appear as full bleeds and then he takes readers back to reality with smaller spot illustrations. His book presents endless possibilities as a read aloud and spurs the imagination.

When I finished reading My Garden to my daughter, I asked her what her garden would contain. First she would grow all the toys she wants so that she wouldn't have to visit the store. Her plants would keep growing even in the snow. The garden would be filled with kittens, puppies, and balloons. And one last thing - the garden would take all the garbage away by grabbing it so it would disappear and you wouldn't see it anymore. The imagination truly is a garden where anything is possible.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books (February 2010); 40 pages; ISBN 9780061715174
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher.

What would grow in your garden? Do you have a favorite garden or spring themed picture book?

Related Links:
Kevin Henkes - Author Website
Printable activities from My Garden [pdf]
Under the Green Willow - "The Making of My Garden"

Children's Garden Book Lists:

Brimful Curiosities - Favorite children's garden books
The Almost Librarian - How does your garden grow?
Gardening Books for Schools & Children (University of Florida)
Top 10 Children’s Picture Books About Gardens and Gardening (
Children's Books for Garden and Plant Lovers


We tried making Reversible Accordion Fold Pictures this week for our stART (story+art) craft. If you turn the paper one way, you see Mom's Garden and when you turn the paper the other way, you see the child's imaginary garden. This is one of those projects I should have prepared in advance, because I pushed the boundaries of my daughter's patience with too many folds. She didn't finish her project, but enjoyed making her garden change from all pink to many colors. Later on, I went back and made a simple design with only 5 folds (six total sides to color) instead of the seven we started with.

To begin, divide the 8-1/2 x 11 paper into 6 sections lengthwise and accordion fold 5 times. On alternating strips draw images for mom's garden and then for the child's imaginary garden. Position the paper to see mom's garden from one direction and the child's garden from the other. It's like magic!

Post what you've been reading each week with your kids at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This sounds fantastic, and I love the art activity. I'll have to try that with my own little artists!

Thanks for linking up to Read Aloud Thursday once again!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I've seen those reversible books, but never tried one with the kids - thanks for the pointers :)

Janet said...

I've never seen this Kevin Henkes book. The sunflower alone is enough to make me want to read it! Love your art projects, too.

Jenny said...

That sounds like a great book. I love the project too! I bet my daughter would really like this book.

Unknown said...

I do believe that the accordion fold is perhaps to "bestest" fold out there- for fans, paper gardens, and, uh, accordions, of course!

(Seriously, this simple project has many possibilities for school work...thanks for the idea...)

Playing by the book said...

I'm always on the look out for new garden books so this is particularly good for us! And your accordion books look lovely.

247mama said...

It took me a while to decide on the Hooked On Phonics. The reason I finally chose that program were the recommendations from other home school moms. When I got the third raving comment from a friend, I finally decided that was the one! Each "grade" (use this term loosely) comes in two levels with 16 lessons in each level. I figure it is easier and cheaper to do the kindergarten levels with her now and decide in a few months whether to move up to HonP 1st grade or get a different one. I will say she is thrilled with the dvd portion and the entire set up though!