Quattlebaum and Bryant follow up their successful Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond (2011) with new lyrics to the same song, while keeping the nature focus.
This time, Jo MacDonald and her cousin Mike make a garden. From digging the earth and planting the seeds, to watering, harvesting and enjoying the “fruits” of their labors, the two care for their garden habitat and the animals that visit it. Readers can tend their own imaginary gardens along with the pair, as the illustrations and text suggest motions to accompany the familiar tune. Careful observers can track the new plants and animals that arrive with each page turn and read more about them in the backmatter, which also includes some garden facts and tips, comprehension questions, activity extension ideas and a list of resources for gardening information specifically geared toward children. Bryant’s watercolors reflect a childlike enthusiasm. While her whole-garden view allows readers to track the animals and plants that accumulate throughout the song, this also makes it difficult to spy the smallest ones. Second in the series, this title is not quite as strong as the first. The two-syllable “garden” slightly mars the rhythm of the song, while the verses are not as easy to predict, making it harder for audiences to sing along. Still, this is likely to be a popular spring and garden story time choice.
Get out the seed catalogs. (Picture book. 3-7)