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Maisy’s Green Thumb

Maisy Grows a Garden: A Maisy First Science Book by Lucy Cousins; Candlewick Press, $14.99; ages 3 and up) is reviewed today by Rita Zobayan.


Masiy, Maisy, how does your garden grow? Maisy is busy getting ready to grow vegetables and flowers, and we get to help! We join Maisy and her pal Panda as they plant a garden and complete each step: digging, planting, tending, first growth, weeding, picking, and enjoying.

Each pair of pages in this bright and colorful book includes target words with illustrations (pitchfork, rake, shovel for digging; seedlings, roots, ladybug for first growth). Simple sentences and accompanying illustrations describe the scenes. For example, here is Maisy weeding the garden: It’s not only vegetables that grow in the garden. Weeds grow there, too. Maisy pulls the weeds out so they don’t crowd the vegetables!

The highlight of this sturdy book is the interactive tabs for each section. Help Maisy dig the soil. Pull the tab and see Maisy plant carrot seeds. Watch the vegetables sprout, and my-oh-my, wait until your child sees the flowers bloom! Illustrated in Lucy Cousins’ signature style, Maisy Grows a Garden: A Maisy First Science Book is a fun introduction to help little hands develop green thumbs!

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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

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