This action-filled cumulative rhyme deftly tells the story of a vibrant summer garden.
A long view from the gated entrance to the garden portrays a neatly landscaped area hosting an array of busy backyard animals and insects. The next page zooms in on “a surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Each subsequent scene introduces another member of the garden community (inchworm, praying mantis, dragonfly, ants, grasshopper, and chickadee), building the narrative with a rhythmic cadence that flows delightfully, offers a rich vocabulary, and adds to the fluidity of the story. “This is a hummingbird fluttering ’round / the hurrying honeybee buzzing below / the red spotted ladybug dawdling so, / near the surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Meticulously realistic, lush paintings in garden-bright colors will have children poring over the pages to identify each new pollinator or creature that participates in a blooming garden. Children will be pleased to conclude that the surprise is a hanging pupa ready to open and will recognize the arrival of a butterfly. Repeated readings will be welcomed for the opportunities to look for the clever caterpillar and its changing chrysalis. A postscript outlines the natural role each living thing plays.
A lovely literary and artistic rendering. (Picture book. 4-6)