Seasons come and go, and two unlikely friends help the garden prosper.
In a quiet corner, a shy spider listens, tucked in a comfy leaf. Leaves rustle in the wind, the garden tap drip, drip, drips, and high in a tree the owl family hoots (“Twit-twoo”). This is Little Spider’s life day after day. One morning, she hears “Hurry, scurry, worry-worry,” and the sound keeps her from falling asleep. It’s Anxious Ant, rushing around to finish preparations for winter. Tolland gives readers a glimpse underground, where Ant is collecting piles of seeds. “Hurry, scurry, worry-worry,” is its refrain. Little Spider worries that there won’t be any seeds aboveground in the spring, but Anxious Ant says he’s too busy to think about that. Winter is coming! Little Spider offers a trade; she will spin a warm, silky scarf for Anxious Ant in exchange for five seeds. Their friendship is forged. In the spring, with help from sunshine and rain, the seeds sprout into delicate seedlings that, in time, grow into juicy fruit. In the autumn, the unpicked fruit falls to the ground and bursts open, revealing more seeds! Anxious Ant is amazed. He learns not to hoard the seeds but save only a few. That’s all he needs. McKinnon’s ecologically minded tale unfolds with a gentleness that’s in perfect harmony with her lesson. Tolland’s beautiful illustrations do not anthropomorphize her characters but invest them with personality nonetheless; Little Spider’s garden is indeed a lovely one.
Sublime. (Picture book. 5-8)