MR. MEAD AND HIS GARDEN by John Vernon Lord


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In a previous effort by Lord the citizens of Itching Down got rid of a plague of wasps by trapping them in The Giant Jam Sandwich (with Jane Burroway, KR, 1973), and here Mr. Mead (who ""spent many long hours/ In his garden among the flowers"") lures a whole tower of snails and slugs from his garden by sowing a trail of strawberries, lettuce and seeds from there to a deep dark wood where the pests happily remain. But the organic shenanigans are less amusing the second time around -- partly because there is no redeeming naive charm in Lord's awkward singsong verse, partly because the ludicrous events (the sunless garden becomes a surreal hodgepodge where carrots become boots; light bulbs instead of apples hang from the tree; a crow pops up to fly Mr. Mead to town) are less ingenious nonsense than gratuitous silliness. And given the poverty of the verse and the concept, the elaborate lengths to which Lord goes to illustrate it results merely in a static surfeit of unnatural color and form.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1975
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin