CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 19 . . . . May 24, 2002
Small Garden is a meditation on a garden in Cabbagetown, Toronto,
that the author has often visited over the past ten years. The book
is divided into twelve sections in which the author explores the quiet
moments in the garden, its botany and animal life, and stories about
gardens and gardeners. The text is sparingly elegant as well as being
anecdotal at times as when she tells the story of a gardener who poisoned
himself with pesticides. The text has a botanical bent when she clearly
explains how leaves work and how the root system supports the plants.
But the sightings of a raccoon family and a line of ants living inside
the maple tree tell us that there are perhaps more mysterious things
going on in the garden. Nichol writes in very readable prose paragraphs
of unseen things that only on closer observation reveal the life cycle
of this fascinating world set in the midst of a busy urban city.
Barbara Nichol has a unique eye for taking an inventive approach to material as she did in Trunks All Aboard: An Elephant ABC (Tundra, 2001). The publisher recommends One Small Garden for all ages, but it is probably of most interest to adults who love gardens and gardening. The award-winning illustrator, Barry Moser, beautifully illustrates the garden's plants and animals in realistic watercolour vignettes.
Recommended with reservations.
Lorraine Douglas is head of youth services at the Winnipeg Public Library.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.