SCARLETTE BEANE by Karen Wallace


Age Range: 3 - 7
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So joyous is most of this tale from Wallace that it all but subverts the act of magic serving as the climax. Scarlette Beane is a born gardener, not just with a green thumb, but with green fingers as well. She lives in a small home with her parents, “so they worked outside as much as they could.” They are also avid gardeners, too; the days are clear and they are a supremely merry lot. Scarlette is given a garden when she turns five, and proceeds to grow colossal vegetables that have to be individually harvested with machines. Everyone in the village comes to help, and then to eat the soup made from the bounty. They must eat outside because the house is too small, but no one minds such a glorious picnic, even when it rains. That night, Scarlette creeps out of bed to a high meadow and plants a bunch of seeds in a hole. The next day, a castle of vegetables rises from the meadow: “Mrs. Beane kissed her daughter’s face. ‘I knew you’d do something wonderful,’ she whispered.” Since their small house has suited them so beautifully, this ending has the feel of gilding the lily. Thickly painted, expressively modeled artwork adds to the atmosphere of green and growing miracles. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8037-2475-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999