With the help of his forest friends, gnome Jerome learns a valuable lesson about happiness—or maybe gardening.
A bright yellow bird named Warble flies through the Garden of Wonder, landing in Jerome’s open window. Warble offers Jerome a “tiny black seed” that she calls “the seed of happiness.” Jerome offers a piece of bright red yarn—the “perfect” thing for Warble’s nest!—in exchange. When the seed doesn’t do anything, however, Jerome worries that it may be broken. Friends Beamer the robot and Nutilda the squirrel suggest sunlight, and Sir Surly the turtle prompts Jerome to toss the seed into the pond for water. It takes Sherwin Wigglesworth, a jaunty worm with a monocle, to show Jerome how to plant his seed. Jerome and friends are impatient for the seed to grow, until Glinda, the butterfly fairy (who just happens to be fluttering by), points out the missing ingredient: love. “The best things always grow from love.” Jerome nurtures his seed with water, food, love, and some of his favorite things placed all around. It grows into a giant green watermelon that everyone can share. Though it doesn’t really hang together logically, DiPucchio’s story captures an innocence in tune with the very young. Kaufenberg’s illustrations are appropriately bright and cute, depicting Jerome as a white garden gnome with a pointy red cap.
Like Jerome’s, its heart is in the right place. (Picture book. 3-6)