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Have you got green fingers? Check out all our Gardening book selections, read reviews, download extracts and you can order the book too!
Pip and Posy are enjoying the garden in their different ways. Pip is doing some gardening, Posy is having fun. For Posy, having fun means making noise, lots of it, which doesn’t go down well with Pip’s new friend, a snail – poor Posy! Except that, when the snail urgently needs some help, Posy is just the person to supply it. It’s a funny, beautifully observed story about difference, individuality – and the near-impossibility of being quiet if you’re someone like Posy (and lots of little readers will be). As ever, Axel Scheffler’s illustrations are full of vitality and detail. Pip’s snail is wonderfully expressive, in or out of his shell, and the garden they all share is bright, colourful and welcoming. A perfect book to share with the under-fives.
Rows of adorable little veggies tuck themselves up for the night in their flower beds in this charming and whimsical picture book. The potatoes are closing their eyes, the tired-out tomatoes humming lullabies, and the little aubergines are already dreaming, after all, nothing’s more exhausting than growing day and night. The text is short and its rhythm and rhymes make it just right for bedtime reading while the pictures of the vegetables, cosy and smiling in their beds, will set the liveliest toddler in the mood for sleep. A worm tunnels through each page and at the book’s end he too is stretched out for the night fast asleep, his one shoe lined up tidily at the foot of the bed. Gorgeous!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2021 | Filled with curious and intriguing illustrations and with an original text filled with unusual and fascinating facts, this handsome, large format picture book takes a completely new look at vegetables. Accompanying each vegetable, or sometimes a pair of vegetables as with a carrot and a parsnip which are similar although they are described as ‘an odd couple’, there is an elegant text telling something of the history of how each one comes to be on our tables, something of how each one grows and something about the traditions about how we eat them. The delights in this book are perfect for sharing for all ages.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by tiny clinging plants such as lichen and the insects that feed on them, through the first flowers that grow in that soil and the butterflies and bees and birds that feed off them to the massive trees and shrubs that we see today all stages of forest growth are covered. The book ends with 5 pages of useful facts about forests.
Rob Ramsden is an exciting new arrival on the picture book scene and We Planted a Pumpkin is a really lovely book, just the thing to get young children excited about nature, eager to plant seeds and see them grow. It stars two very young gardeners and follows them through the process of planting a pumpkin seed, from watching and impatiently waiting for it to grow as the seasons change. The children bring liveliness and action to every scene, but there’s always lots going on – new shoots appearing, mini-beasts flying in and out. Though it feels beautifully simple, it’s actually chockful of information and opportunities for learning. A gorgeous book to share with the young and likely to be the start of many adventures in the garden.
It’s time to flex your green fingers and get growing food, and this fun, accessible how-to book will give children masses of inspiration as well as practical advice. All you need is some soil, a packet of seeds, a watering can and trowel. Don’t worry if space is limited – a balcony or windowsill can be turned into a space for growing things. With this book you can be as ambitious as you like and grow a bean den, or a pizza garden (yum!), or work on a smaller scale. Author Annabelle Padwick’s enthusiasm shines through as well as her expertise, and the book encourages children to record their activities as they work through her advice. A book to grow a lifetime’s love of growing things.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | The newest addition to Yuval Zommer's bestselling series answers these questions and more as it introduces young children to all kinds of colourful, carnivorous, weird and wonderful flowering plants from around the world. Readers will enjoy learning about different edible flowers and why flowers are fragrant or colourful, not to mention grisly details about carnivorous and poisonous flowers.
We first met Mrs Noah in Mrs Noah’s Pockets whilst the family were all on the Ark. Now the Ark has made land and whilst Noah makes the Ark into a home, Mrs Noah sets about planting a garden in the fresh new earth. Her always deep pockets furnish all the seeds needed for the job, the ark provides the trees they have nurtured along the way and she enlists the children to help her tend the new garden. A deceptively simple story –it is in the illustrations that we see the development of the garden as the pictures move from a dark rocky palette, to a more organised series of garden terraces, with colour gradually growing in each spread as we progress through the book – until at last we have a wonderful explosion of plants and animals for all the birds, bees and humans to share. A wonderful celebration of the joys of planting and growing, I can see it being used to seed discussions around how you might create a garden – in school or at home. Plus, as the publisher points out, it provides a positive way of encouraging discussion around migrants and refugees – as Mrs Noah and her family build a new home in a foreign land. I can see this becoming a firm favourite in classrooms all over the country.
This little paperback does much more than it says on the tin. It encourages young readers to explore the outdoors (whether that’s via a ramble in the countryside, a trip to the local park or picnic in the garden) and shows them how to make the most of it by using their powers of observation and imagination. It asks you really look around and note what you can see, whether plants, insects or birds, and then to make sketches or maps of where you are. More, it encourages readers to make up stories and also includes short descriptions of famous people who found inspiration in the outside world, from Beatrix Potter to Claude Monet. It really should make young people see and think differently about the natural world around them, and packs in a great deal of information and stimulation.
Read this book and you will see flowers with quite different eyes. That’s its intention, as laid out in the introduction, and one it achieves quite brilliantly. Seventeen flowers are featured, most familiar to us all (dandelion, thistle, poppy, marigold), full colour, full page illustrations opposite a page of text. The text gives us size and appearance, where the plant grows, but also includes bits of history and folklore plus information on medicinal properties and how the plant has been used to heal over the centuries. Fascinating stuff, and you get a strong sense of the author’s expertise and enthusiasm. The illustrations are just as special, stylized, folk-art inspired images of the flowers with figures or birds and insects. Beautiful and mind-expanding.
The twelve poems in this book, one for each month, will inspire a year of nature watching and who knows, quite likely some poetry writing too. There’s drama and excitement in the opening poem which describes a legendary fight between warring starlings – ‘the Rorschach of the winter months’ - over Cork in the 1600s; other poems are quieter and February’s gives a beautiful close up view of frog spawn, opening up memories from Coelho’s own childhood. Many of the poems in fact reflect his own personal experiences and responses to nature, April showers, trips to the beach, walks through winter leaves, giving the poems a particular intensity and emotional impact. Kelly Louise Judd’s folk-are inspired illustrations make this as beautiful to look at as it is to read aloud. A superb collection and a lovely book to give.
Two young friends find a seed, and what an adventure follows. At first they play with it, but of course it doesn’t grow. Then they listen to it, plant it and wait as the seasons come and go until, in the summer sunshine, there stands a glorious sunflower. That’s not the end of the story though: the flower dies, as flowers do, but it leaves them more seeds. This is a beautiful and very clever illustration of the cycle of life, all wrapped up in a story that will be fun to read over and over again. The rhythmic text is great to read aloud and there are opportunities for children to copy the actions of its stars on every page as they dance, sing, get blown by the wind, and grow up like the sunflower.
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