Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flower Garden

"Garden in a shopping cart
Doesn't it look great?
Garden on the checkout stand
I can hardly wait."

And so go on the book about the Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. I had forgotten all about the book Jannah-Rae had picked out as a prize from Howard County Library last summer. She took part in the summer reading program, and after finishing ten books, picked out one she could keep. The book looked simple enough, and colorful. So I confirmed her choice. But only when we got home and read it together were we able to appreciate its simplicity and richness, its rhythm and magic.

A little girl goes shopping with her dad for a "flower garden." She picks out pansies and tulips, daffodils and geranium, potting soil and daisies. She looks on anxiously as they pay for their purchase: raisins and bread, oranges and cereal. They head out. She holds on to the box with the garden supplies and takes the bus. They arrive at their building and mount the stairs to their apartment; there isn't an elevator. They set to work. Finally, the surprise is ready.

"Happy, happy birthday, Mom!
A garden box - for you!"

Cake and ice cream are set on the table. Candles are lit. It is the mother's birthday. While away the girl and her dad had set up the surprise: a loving gift for a loving parent. There are no frills, no decorations, no elaborate schemes. The celebration, and the present, are simple yet thoughtful, all that a mother really needs. 

The book is not complicated. There are no underlying plots, or complex characters. The text, when put together, barely fills a page and yet it is memorable. The colorful illustrations, the musical lyrics, the realistic topic, makes it a wonderful addition to our library. It is so humane in its story line and so realistic in its scenes that I imagine myself there in the book every time I read. I find myself wondering about the girl and her family, wanting to walk down their street and visit their house. I imagine seeing the little girl's face, listening to her voice, feeling her excitement. I imagine my own family holding a similar celebration. To say I love this book is an understatement. I am so glad Jannah-Rae brought this book home. 

You can buy a copy of this book here, or check it out from your local library

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