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by Ferida Wolff & illustrated by Kathy Osborn

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-11651-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 It was a poor but agreeable village in China, where all could call each other a friend. The villagers decided to build a beautiful garden down by the river to attract a visit from the emperor, who passed through the village on the way to his summer palace in the north. When it came time to name the pleasure garden, a note of disharmony arose: The bricklayer disputed the name suggested by the stonecutter, the farmer disagreed with the gardener, the carpenter wasn't impressed with the ditchdigger's choice. Each wanted his work to be honored in the name. Unneighborly accusations flew, families spatted, bitterness reigned. Then the monsoon came and cut short their bickering, flooding and ruining much of the garden. But the emperor had gotten wind of the villagers' toils and requested to see the garden when he passed through. The emperor marveled at the garden's simplicity and took great pleasure in its quietude, all that was left of what once was. He advised the villagers to name it the Garden of Supreme Harmony, and the story comes full circle. A fine little cautionary tale, complemented by Osborn's pictures: smart, flat stylizations, rich in color and detail. (Picture book. 5+)