There's a lot to recommend this book, and it falls short of success only in the measure to which it seems an adult's story about a boy who won the friendship of city neighbors through their participation in his efforts (and success) as a city backyard farmer. The boy himself is a lay figure -- an agency through which the tiny city farm is achieved. And yet the story itself is an intriguing one- as he digs the junk out of the ash heap that was his playground, prepares the soil for a Spring garden, and plants corn and squash and purple cabbages to please his neighbors. The commercial success at the end, as the neighbors stage an openair market, seems a trifle exaggerated. And yet the book, with its lively illustrations and its repeat pattern of story telling, is fun to read. Seven and eight year olds would like it read aloud; third and fourth graders could read it to themselves.