A primer for young gardeners, tuning them in to the basics for starting a garden and then maintaining it. Smith (Argo, You Lucky Dog, 1994, etc.) gently delivers plenty of advice and information: This is a how-to book, but it is neither dry nor admonitory, and the text is often lilting. Even the difficult notion of thinning is handled well; recognizing that it's hard for a child to root out a plant he or she has grown from a seed, Smith shows children that such plants can be transplanted--and ""say you will visit on Thursdays."" The book also offers a sober, solid lesson in patience, and in the appreciation of nature's great good bounty. Perhaps best of all, in the gathering exuberance of the little girl's flowerbed, there is real provocation to get a garden going, to see if the glorious raucousness of Smith's pages can be duplicated in the earth.