Owen lovingly helps his dad care for a beautiful city park.
In an author’s note, Ritchie explains that he visited Berlin’s Tiergarten on a summer day and witnessed the turning on of the sprinklers, an event that “sent [everyone in the park] running in all directions.” He reimagines this day through the eyes of young Owen, who usually sweeps or rakes leaves while his dad drives a large industrial lawn mower. “But once a week, there was a job that Owen loved. And this morning, he was going to do it by himself.” The job involves notifying all those enjoying the park—sunbathers, picnickers, strollers, runners, and others—that the sprinklers are about to be turned on. “For a shy boy like Owen, the first part of the job was difficult.” Then there’s the task he enjoys most: opening the tap to allow water to thoroughly drench the grass, the trees, the flowers, and “anybody who hadn’t listened to Owen.” Although the story is slight, the charming full-bleed, double-page–spread line-and-color illustrations are gloriously green, full of diverse children and adults enjoying a warm day and myriad details to delight close readers. Owen and his dad present as white, and his dad uses crutches in a positive representation of a person with a disability just doing his job.
It’s hard to imagine the child who won’t envy Owen this job. (Picture book. 4-7)