Timo the rabbit is eager to make his garden “great.”
Timo loves his garden, with its many flowers (an illustrated index names all those mentioned in the text) and “herbs for cooking, a lawn for visiting, and a bench for sitting and daydreaming.” Suddenly, though, it doesn’t seem special enough when he decides to participate in the upcoming garden tour. From one short chapter to the next, instead of spending time with friends, he frets and gardens, gardens and frets. Ultimately, Timo not only misses out on fun with friends, he’s also thwarted by poor weather when a rainstorm leaves the garden “a mess.” His friends rally to him help clean things up, but in what seems like an unnecessary twist, the garden tour is cancelled due to yet more (offstage) rain, and so Timo and his friends instead have a picnic and make plans for more gardening. A closing image of garden-tour judges at Timo’s gate suggests that all’s well in the end. Throughout, Griffiths’ richly colored illustrations depict anthropomorphic animals in a pastoral setting and include Timo’s lists of tasks on pages made to look like notebook paper. While the text isn’t controlled enough for brand new readers to decode, the brief chapters make the story accessible on a structural level.
A fine title for growing readers. (Early reader. 7-9)