Saturday, November 23, 2019

Review - What Grew in Larry's Garden

What Grew in Larry's Garden
by Laura Alary
illustrated by Kass Reich
Date: 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A girl and her neighbor grow a community from their garden.

Grace thinks Larry's garden is one of the wonders of the world. In his tiny backyard next door to hers, Larry grows the most extraordinary vegetables. Grace loves helping him - watering and weeding, planting and pruning, hoeing and harvesting. And whenever there's a problem - like bugs burrowing into the carrots or slugs chewing the lettuce - Grace and Larry solve it together. Grace soon learns that Larry has big plans for the vegetables in his special garden. And when that garden faces its biggest problem yet, Grace follows Larry's example to find the perfect solution.

Inspired by a real person, author Laura Alary has written a heartwarming story about how amazing things can grow when you tend your garden with kindness. In this case, Larry, a teacher, is helping to grow community. He has his students grow tomato plants that they then give away to their neighbors with personal notes. It offers a powerful lesson on the influence of generosity, while encouraging young children to become community activists in their own neighborhoods. This uplifting story fosters an appreciation for neighborhood and community at a time when that sentiment seems to be eroding. The book also contains an environmental message about harvesting your own vegetables and, with Kass Reich's colorful illustrations, works beautifully for a life science exploration of growth and changes in plants. There are character education connections to caring, cooperation, empathy, kindness, perseverance and teamwork.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a nice little book, based on a real person, about gardening, kindness, and community.

I'm not sure about the storyline involving the neighbour and his fence (it looks like that part was made up); focusing on Larry and his tomato project could've been enough. To me, it just seemed like the neighbour came around awfully fast, and it added an unrealistic element to the plot.

The overall message is nice, though, and Larry's tomato project is kind of cool. We need more teachers like this.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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