In reverent lines punctuated with occasional and near rhyme, a girl narrates the cycle of working a community-garden plot over three productive seasons.
She and her friend (a boy) plan, plant, tend and harvest fruits, veggies and flowers. Their moms help with autumn’s lush bounty: “We gather in our garden’s gifts / to pickle, bake, or freeze, or dry, / then cook a glorious autumn / feast—soups and salads, / cakes and pies.” At the culminating meal, the two families give thanks “for seeds and soil, rain and sun / and all the springtimes yet to come,” and the last double-page spread shows the friends sowing seeds anew. Christensen’s pictures—rich, brushy reds, greens and golds contoured with thick, inky black line—convey visual affirmations of friendship, cooperation and patience through changing seasons. Basic biological facts about plants, arranged on seed packets scattered across a final page, are reinforced visually throughout. A yellow dog and a rabbit (followed by the inevitable bunny babies) make frequent appearances, and even a raccoon in the corn seems less a pest than part of an idyllic, ecological whole.
Text and pictures align nicely in this fresh celebration of gardening as food for both body and soul. (Picture book. 3-7)