________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2000

cover The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening.

Karyn Morris. Illustrated by Jane Kurisu.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2000.
240 pp., pbk., $16.95.
ISBN 1-55074-690-1.

Subject Heading:
Gardening-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 - 9 / Ages 8 - 14.

Review by Joan Marshall.

**** /4

image A few years ago I was searching for a great gardening book for children because, as the long weekend in May approached, students announced that they were going to be gardening, and "Where were the gardening books?" As I read through this wonderful book for 8 to 14-year-olds, I wished I had had 10 copies in the spring. At 239 pages, this is indeed, a 'jumbo" book, and it covers any aspect of gardening you can think of (and more). It contains a table of contents that divides the book into seven sections: How Gardens Grow; Fruit and Vegetable Gardens; Flower Gardens; School and Community Gardens; and Plant Lists (divided by regions of North America). The index is extensive and thorough, and the book's font is large and clean. Wavy green and dotted green lines divide up each page into easily digested chunks of information. Excellent, clear drawings in black, white and green illustrate each page and extend the text for thorough understanding. Directions are numbered clearly. "Green ThumbTips" and other bits of information ("Worms in Your Garden") grace the sidebars of many pages. The same children who posed for the cover of The Kids Can Press Jumbo Cook Book, a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, are the models for this book.
    The book begins with the four "Golden Rules of Gardening:" Good Soil, Match the Plants to the Site, Attract Wildlife and Grow a Garden that Suits You. Each section is crammed with easy to understand, practical advice. Readers will have no problems planting and caring for raspberries, planning one of several types of gardens or building a bluebird house. There is the odd error: a few drawings show children working with bare hands right in the soil; the soiless mix, cultivars and hybrids are terms used but not defined; both the hardiness zone and the last frost date are terms used often but not illustrated with a map or examples. On the other hand, the book is packed with ideas, such as how to grow a pole bean teepee, a broken ladder herb garden, a miniature or butterfly garden, and a toad pond, that will elicit the coveted "Cool!" from the intended age group.
    Wheelchair bound children, the elderly and children from various cultural backgrounds garden enthusiastically in this fascinating book. Its strong environmental message, emphasizing xeriscaping, native plants and attracting wildlife, fits in seamlessly with the science curriculum. Although this book would be an amazing gift (especially from an adult willing to help with the actual gardening), here is a book for every elementary and middle school in North America.

Highly Recommended.

Joan Marshall is the teacher-librarian at Henry G. Izatt Middle School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364