HOW GROUNDHOG’S GARDEN GREW by Lynne Cherry

HOW GROUNDHOG’S GARDEN GREW

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

Good intentions crash and burn when the ill winds of pedantry overwhelm this story of a garden’s year. Here is Little Groundhog doing what groundhogs were born to do: seek and destroy gardens. Along comes Squirrel, looking to turn Nature on its ear with admonition and instruction. “ ‘Little Groundhog!’ Squirrel scolded. ‘This garden does not belong to you. . . . Why don’t you plant your OWN garden?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ Little Groundhog told her, embarrassed, ‘but I don’t know how.’ ‘Well, then,’ replied Squirrel, ‘I will show you.’ ” And he does, teaching elementary gardening as he goes. While there is no denying the elegance of Cherry’s illustrations—some full-bleed, others bordered by the subjects of the page, all peopled with winsome creatures—the text is a relentless machine that force-feeds its message, something like what a duck must experience getting the foie gras treatment. “First, you will need seeds.” “First, we need to dig in the soil to loosen it up.” “First, we’ll need to cut them into little pieces with 2 sprouts each.” Sensible comments are made regarding organic gardening, the big difference in flavor between garden fresh vegetables and the store-bought variety, and the pleasure of the harvest, though this last, too, can feel strained: “Little Groundhog cried jubilantly.” “Little Groundhog rejoiced!” Maybe it’s all best summed up in Cherry’s footnote: “But it’s not magic—it’s science; it’s life.” Banishing magic from the garden—there’s an idea whose time should never come. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-439-32371-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2002




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