4 Lovely Picture Books for Little Green Thumbs
It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Gardening is a wonderful way to get the kids outdoors. And if you’re looking for reasons to garden with the little ones, here’s just a few: It teaches responsibility and love, selflessness, patience, and care. It also gives your children a tiny glimpse into what it takes to raise a little seedling of their own. They’ll have a greater appreciation of all your hard work as a parent. Plus, you’ll be instilling a love of nature for years to come.
But before you go spending money on watering cans shaped like chameleons or colorful spades and gardening gloves, plant the seed first! Pick up one or two or all of these beautifully illustrated picture books and inspire your own little green thumb to get planting.
By Barbara Cooney
From two-time Caldecott winning author and gorgeously illustrated, Miss Rumphius is Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book. It’s a quiet, wise, and heartfelt story of Alice Rumphius who dreams of traveling the world – and even more so – of leaving a lasting impression on it. Based on the real Lupine Lady who scattered lupine seeds all up and down Maine, the story delicately captures how even the smallest action can have a huge impact.
Read it in bed before the lights go out. Your child will dream wonderful dreams of making the world a more beautiful place.
By Peter Brown
Don’t be surprised if this enchanting story has your child planting well beyond your garden and out into the entire neighborhood. The Curious Garden is a tale of little red-haired Liam living in a grey, grey world. As he explores his drab city, he stumbles on a withered garden and takes responsibility.
With a lot of patience and perseverance, Liam transforms his surroundings. The illustrations grow more vibrant as Liam’s hard work explodes into a lush urban garden. Little ones will enjoy trying to spot the red-haired boy within the shrubs and flowers, in what grows into a veritable seek-and-find.
By the end, your kids will be wishing for a community garden just as fabulous. So consider following up your reading with a walk through your city to appreciate the green spaces you do have, or to get started on some new ones.
By Sarah Stewart
A Caldecott-winner, The Gardener is a bittersweet story of a determined little gardener sent to the big city by her out-of-work parents. Told in a series of letters to home, Lydia Grace Finch brings color to her Uncle Jim’s bakery and smiles to its customers’ faces with the stunning flowers she plants at every window sill, in every broker cup or pan.
But her biggest challenge of all? It’s not planting an ambitious rooftop garden. That she can do. It’s making the old curmudgeon, Uncle Jim, smile at its sight.
Sarah Stewart’s story will inspire any kid to get planting. And David Small’s illustrations will have children’s affection blooming throughout this heart-warming story.
By Lane Smith
Children will love page after page of fanciful trees sculpted to look like a baby crying, chicks hatching, elephants, parachuters, and a three-tiered wedding cake. These are all the work of Grandpa Green. He captures his life’s most memorable moments through a garden full of topiary creations. And his grandson relives his rich history thanks to the garden, and his own active imagination.
Kids will not only fall in love with the stunning illustrations (another Caldecott winner, of course!), they will demand their own gardening shears. As a bonus, they’ll have a newfound appreciation for their grandparents and a whole host of questions about them.
Feeling inspired? Get planting! All you need are some seeds and a simple shovel to start. Or pick out a tray of lovely annuals from your local gardening store. If you want to keep your child’s first attempt limited to a smaller space, read up on A Potted Gardens for Little Green Thumbs.
Have you tried gardening with your kids? Share your stories – and photos – with us!
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