An uninvited seed falls and roots in a garden, inconveniencing dwellers both above- and underground.
Its roots advance, breaking through mole Yvonne’s bathroom ceiling, disrupting Susie Field Mouse’s birthday party, and complicating the ants’ tunneling. After Yvonne’s fruitless repairs and the mouse family’s second ruined house, the community calls an emergency meeting and decides to cut down the plant. As Mr. Field Mouse prepares to bite the stem, Jack, a green-clad, mouse-sized humanoid, intervenes. “Is this plant so terrible?” After all, it’s provided shade for Mr. Gnome’s house. Perhaps the mice children could play in its branches, from which the ants could spy new tunnel routes. “And don’t forget its fruit!” The interloper, indeed, is a tomato plant: A new plan emerges. Canadian Dubuc’s pictures, rendered in flat color and simple line, depict the underground homes as cozy, comfortably furnished rooms. The matter-of-fact text, translated from French, notes that the residents grow appreciative of the tomato plant’s “many merits, and were quite content once again.” Jack, Mr. Gnome, and the ants are white-faced. Cross-section visuals depict the ants’ expanded tunnel network, the tomato’s extensive root system, and Yvonne sharing her home with the mice. Small details—a clothesline with Mr. Gnome’s polka-dot underwear; items such as a key and a diamond suspended underground—provide additional fun.
A whimsical take on a garden’s busy, interconnected ecosystem. (Picture book. 3-7)