GOOD NIGHT, GARDEN GNOME by Jamichael Henterly


Age Range: 3 - 5
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This essentially wordless (“Good night, Garden Gnome” is the full extent of text) picture book spices its simple flavor of fantasy with the ever-so-uneasy strangeness radiated by an ordinary garden gnome. The story opens with a young girl squiring her dolls and stuffed animals about the yard in a red wagon. One of the characters in the wagon is a garden gnome of the long-beard-and-Alpine-garb persuasion. It is his vacant stare that gives off the spooky edge, though he seems a jolly enough sort and no stiffer or less lifelike than the others. When it is time for the girl to go in for the night, she leaves the gnome outside, at which point he comes to life—eyes still vacant—to do his evening’s work. Here he’s much more accomplished than the creature she’s dumped into the birdbath or dressed up in doll clothes. He’s guarding the garden against slugs, helping to feed the rabbits and birds, warding off the cat, communing with the mice and turtles as the sun rises. Then he returns to the little girl one of the stuffed animals left behind the night before. There is even a little bit of adventure when a dog almost buries the gnome, but all comes out right in this gentle salute to the imagination, elegantly caught from the gnome’s-eye view in the saturated colors of the evening. Who knew they had it in them? (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2531-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2001


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