A GARDEN FROM A HUNDRED PACKETS OF SEED

Fenton’s highly personal musings on gardening with flowers that can be grown from seed.

In what must be a labor of love—or perhaps an effort to conform to as many English stereotypes as possible—former Oxford professor, gardener, and author Fenton (Leonardo’s Nephew, 1998) here sets down a wish list of 100 types of flowers to try growing in “a blank slate of a garden.” Blatantly flouting current gardening convention, Fenton eschews the tedium of planning a plot’s “bones,” or layout, in favor of growing flowers that simply appeal to one for their own sake. Dreaming of yards that allow for whimsy and chance, he runs through short descriptions of flowers he has known and found intriguing. There is the Himalyan Balsam (#47), “which grew to around six feet, had flowers like pink coal scuttles, and smelt of 1950s hair oil,” and the Spanish poppy (#69), which “hangs around the back door, returning year after year, looking after itself.” Plants are sorted into chapters according to their color, size, tendency to migrate, and ability to look good when cut and displayed in a vase. Fenton duly notes gardening publications he finds interesting, gardens he has grown in the past, and his frustrations with such bromides as the injunction that growing meadow flowers requires gardeners to lower the fertility of their soil. For those who want to cut to the chase, a list of the hundred flowers is appended to the end, along with a short bibliography that includes seed catalogues, and a handy how-to guide to growing flowers from seed. A guide for people who know flowers—not so much a starting point for novices interested in exploring.

Narrow but charming.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-374-16029-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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