A garden microcosm comes alive as the author imagines the goings-on in his yard.
Through small illustrated vignettes—most not more than a few pages—Gary's verdant lawn comes alive through the eyes of its envisioned anthropomorphic inhabitants. There's a never-ending parade of activity and personalities in the yard, such as meetings of the Camouflage Club, at which the members aren't always seen by its leader; a lavender-colored tap-dancing spider who traps flies in his web but will free them if they stay to watch his soft-shoe routine; and a froglet named Jennifer, who can't quite seem to grow all her legs. Then there's the esteemed Professor Ladybug Zarpov, who journeys into the house and discovers Gary's aquarium, naming it Zarpovia. Though imbued with whimsy, the humor has a quiet sensibility. While Gary's characters' lives are imagined, readers can still expect to leave with some knowledge about creatures lurking outside. With Northfield's keen eye for a world within a world, this will appeal to young readers who enjoy such fare as PBS' Wild Kratts franchise. Also included to up the fun factor are mock trading cards portraying all the characters and rating them on qualities like intelligence and ickiness.
These quietly silly tableaux should fit nicely in the hands of backyard explorers and dreamers. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)