________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 19 . . . . May 24, 2002

cover One Small Garden.

Barbara Nichol. Illustrated by Barry Moser.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2001.
56 pp., cloth, $22.99.
ISBN 0-88776-475-4.

Subject Headings:
Gardening-Juvenile literature.
Natural history-Juvenile literature.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

*** /4

exerpt:

"Scissors

This happened about forty years ago.

Two little girls came up with a plan. They would cut down a tree with scissors. It seemed quite possible, like something in a cartoon. They chose a small tree in their backyard, hidden from the view of the house."

internal art

One 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.

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

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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