Barner’s entry in the I Like to Read series features an appealing white dog narrating a simple text.
“I have a frog in my garden. / I have a bird in my garden.” A chipmunk, a bug, a bee, and additional fauna and flora flourish on successive spreads. The dog, which dashes about with a bone or stick, declares, a bit too greedily, “This garden is all for me.” With a turn of the page, all of the previously pictured creatures gather together, visually conveying the text’s corrective sentiment: “No. This garden is for all of us.” Barner’s exuberant gouache-and-pastel cut-paper collages feature stylized sunflowers, poppies, daisies and more. A bluebird’s topknot looks like a heart, echoing the shape of the dog’s shiny nose. Pictures and words (delivered in the educational typeface “Report School”) cohere nicely, offering blossoming readers some fresh, springy practice. The bright pictures, particularly coupled with the clearly defined value of the garden as a shared environment, make this a nice choice for preschoolers, too.
Sweet and sturdy. (Early reader. 2-7)