Zoehfeld’s latest is a wonderfully informative and enjoyable journey through one family’s backyard garden, from spring planting to fall harvest.
Covering a dazzling array of topics, the author still manages to hold onto a story line that will draw readers in and allow them to experience both the good and the bad right along with narrator Alice. They will wait for the seeds to sprout and worry along with Alice about the nibbles that are missing from a few plants. Taking some time to be quiet in the garden, Alice discovers that it is home to many different animals, some beneficial and some not, and that the garden plants are the beginnings of many food chains, all interconnected in a web. Autumn sees the family putting up their vegetables so that they can enjoy the harvest throughout the winter, while they dream and plan their next garden. The text comes alive through Lamont’s pen-and-watercolor illustrations, which reinforce the learning while entertaining at the same time—the humans are not the only ones doing the educating. A funny pair of chickens appears throughout, providing more in-depth information about lots of topics, including photosynthesis, composting, common garden insects, food chains and the parts of the plants that people eat.
Sure to become a standard go-to for elementary teachers and gardeners alike, this is bound to spark some backyard explorations. (Informational picture book. 4-9)