Skip to content

The Littlest Gardeners

WhatsinGardenAs an avid gardener myself, I am always interested in reading gardening books for kids. What’s in the Garden ($8.95, Dawn Publications, Ages 3-8) is a brand new book that is sure to get children interested in not only learning to grow their own food,  but also in healthy eating and cooking.

Marianne Berkes, author of many nature books, shares her love of gardening and cooking as she writes about different fruits and veggies in catchy rhyming verse. Each two-page spread features a different fruit or vegetable and a simple recipe using that food, such as applesauce, carrot muffins, blueberry pie and more. You’ll love the colorful illustrations by Chris Arbo, who wonderfully paints children eating or preparing the food as well as the fruits and vegetables themselves. Check out her illustration of an apple. It looks like a photograph!

In the book’s back matter is a list of the foods featured with their history and information about how they grow.  There are also tips about growing, descriptions of plant parts, cooking vocabulary and additional resources.

Getting young children interested in learning about gardening and the foods they eat is so important. As a parent I know that makes a big difference in their ability to not only make healthy choices, but also to appreciate what it takes to grow safe, healthy and delicious whole foods. Curious children thrive in school, in work and in life. And gardening is one terrific way to pique their curiosity.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

Share this:

Enamored With Eyewear

Glamorous Glasses by Barbara Johansen Newman ($16.95, Boyds Mill Press, ages 4 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

I started wearing glasses when I was seven years old. Back then in England, there weren’t many stylish options, especially as I wore National Health Service glasses. I remember both my mother and the optometrist talking to me about any potential teasing I might face and how to deal with being one of the first students in my grade to wear glasses. Many years later, more children are wearing glasses at an earlier age and have many shapes and colors to choose from. In fact, glasses have gone from a fashion fail to fashion fun, so much so that my oldest daughter wants to wear glasses even though she doesn’t need them!

Enter Bobbie from Glamorous Glasses by Barbara Johansen Newman. She is enamored with glasses and badly wants to wear a pair, especially as her favorite cousin, Joanie, has to start wearing them. However, Bobbie’s vision is just fine and Joanie isn’t thrilled about her prescription. It’s up to Bobbie to help Joanie come to terms with sporting specs.

“You are so lucky,” said Joanie. “Wearing glasses makes me feel different. I don’t like the way I look. I wish I didn’t have to wear them.”

                  I couldn’t believe my ears. I’d give anything to wear glasses like Joanie’s. That’s when I got another idea…

                  “Listen, Joanie,” I whispered. “While our moms are trying on dresses today, we can go get some candy. I’ll wear your new glasses, and you can carry my new pocketbook. We’ll both look very glamorous.”

                  We read along as the pair follows the plan. How will Joanie manage without glasses? Will Bobbie ever get a pair, especially as the eye doctor has already tested her for perfect vision?! In a fun and fashionable manner, the book provides plenty of discussion points to help youngsters deal with the process of accepting who they are and figuring out the importance of what they need.

The illustrations of the characters are exaggerated, almost between a caricature and a bobblehead, and cartoonish enough for children to enjoy. The colors are vivid, and Barbara Johansen Newman delights in patterns. Find polka dots, checkers, flowers, stripes, stars and hearts on the glasses, hair ribbons and clothes. She fills the pictures with outfits galore–boots, purses, dresses—that reflect the personalities of the characters.  Bobbie and Joanie’s world is filled with fun tchotchkes and spotting them in the pictures is part of the enjoyment. And, I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the author’s French bulldog, Bitty, makes a cameo in one of the scenes.

Glamorous Glasses includes a spectacle of spectacles, and is a spectacular read!

Share this:
Back To Top