Monday, November 16, 2009

The Curious Garden

Liam lives in a dreary city "without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind."  One day, while investigating an abandoned section of railroad tracks, Liam discovers a small patch of struggling plants.  He takes it upon himself to help these plants and soon the garden begins to look like a "real garden". The garden, like Liam, is curious and begins to explore "farther and farther down the tracks."  The weeds and moss lead the way followed by the "more delicate plants."  Soon, this curiosity leads to a much different looking city.

I see why so many groups (check out Chicken Spaghetti's big list of lists) have The Curious Garden, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, on their best of 2009 lists. The text carries powerful messages about letting nature take its course and how one individual can truly change the world.  The illustrations are beautiful to view and do a fantastic job of dictating the mood of the story.  The richness of Brown's drawings lends this book to lessons on author's purpose and on using the illustrations to gain meaning.  It could also be beneficial to compare illustrations from the beginning and the end of The Curious Garden to teach contrast. This is a book that could be read several times for different uses.

By the way, does anyone think of The Talking Heads song (Nothing But) Flowers or Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi when they read this book?

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