Laurel and her next-door neighbor Honey, an older woman, cultivate a friendship grounded in Honey’s lovingly tended garden.
Narrating from her child’s eye, Laurel, who is white, observes Honey (with light brown skin and harlequin glasses) thinning lettuce, pulling beets, and singing to the kale. “She says it sings back, but I can’t hear it. / Not even when I listen close.” Honey dines with Laurel and her mom each Friday, bringing bouquets of “squash blossoms, rosemary, raspberries on a prickle branch. / Nothing matches, but everything fits.” One day, a “for sale” sign appears next door: Honey must move to care for her sick mother. Sensitively, Honey helps Laurel understand that the garden will continue on after she leaves. Her new strawberry plants will fruit for another family, just as she’s enjoyed the grapes planted by an earlier gardener. She helps Laurel plant a young apple tree. When a new family with four young children moves into Honey’s house, Laurel helps them in the garden—and sings to the kale. Cotterill’s digitally colored pen-and-ink compositions enthusiastically depict Honey’s flourishing veggies and natty garden attire. Visuals gently extend the story: Laurel inherits Honey’s yellow straw hat and writes her an “I miss you” letter.
Loosely based on a Talmudic story, Snyder’s tale is a tender tribute to the sustainability of good gardens—and intergenerational friendships. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)