An earnest book about gardening that aims to teach children and adults alike how to grow food organically.
Fresh from their win in a vegetable-growing contest in Venetta’s first book, Show Me the Green! (2015), Lexi and Jason Williams become evangelists for gardening at their school, Beacon Academy. They’re eager to spread the word about organic planting techniques after their school principal puts them in charge of a contest that could win them grant money. The plot is similar to that of the previous book, but Venetta weaves in enough new information to give this one a fresh feel. When a child discovers a hornworm threatening the tomatoes, Jason explains that they need to get rid of the pest before it devours everything. Realizing that the younger children will be horrified if he kills the worm, Jason and his friend hatch a plan to keep it in a classroom. As Lexi and Jason fret about whether they’ll win the contest money, they come up with a plan to sell seeds to cover the cost of next year’s garden in case another school beats them. They also decide to teach local people how to grow their own food. He and his sister repeatedly devise such clever solutions, and some readers may wish that they were a little less perfect. Indeed, it would all feel cloying if not for the fact that community gardens have indeed become sources of food in many cities. Aided by Motz’s lively illustrations, Venetta moves the story along deftly, which makes her occasional strange phrasing jarring, as when she describes one of Lexi’s bouts of anxiety: “Nerves skirted through her pulse.” The author is stronger when she describes the garden itself: “Corn stalks were tall and thick and looked like a wall of floppy green leaves...squash plants were sturdy and full, their wide leaves shading the pale yellow fruits beneath.”
An often lively take on what children may accomplish with a garden.