Sunday, May 28, 2023

Today's read... Love Makes a Garden Grow by Taeeun Yo

Today's read had me greenhouse dreaming. I've always wanted a greenhouse...and will build one in the future. It's on my bucket list. Right now, I'm all about outdoor gardening and have, actually, expanded my garden size, this year. I'm hoping for quite a bit of corn, cucumbers, ocra, some broccoli and a few watermelon, too. Lettuce, radishes, bok choy, and sugar peas have already graced us with their presence. Still, I dream of a big enough to set a small table and chair inside to enjoy writing, reading, and a cup of tea.

But I have a feeling today's read goes beyond simple plants and packs tons of heart. 

by Taeeun Yoo
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

From the bestselling illustrator of Strictly No Elephants comes a sweetly personal and stunningly illustrated picture book about a young girl who grows closer to her grandfather by tending to the garden with him.

When I am as small
as a sprout,
Grandfather’s garden feels

A young girl observes the bugs and blooms and the rich smell of the soil of her grandfather’s garden. Her grandfather hums as he waters his treasured plants. And when he gives the girl a flower of her own, caring for it teaches her to feel her grandfather’s love.

Even as time passes and her grandfather’s garden grows smaller and the girl grows up, she never forgets what she learned or loses her closeness with her nurturing grandfather.

When my daughter is as small
as a sprout, we visit Grandfather

Inspired by the author-illustrator’s own family, this beautiful and personal story celebrates the love that binds families and makes us who we are.

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON    /   B&N   /    KOBO


Love and family bloom and radiate on every page to create a heart-filled read.

A young girl spends time with her grandfather in his greenhouse and garden, enjoying their time together. She watches as he waters each plant, and he even gifts her one full of blossoms. As time goes on and she grows, his garden becomes smaller and smaller. Still, she remembers those moments, and while his garden isn't large, the love and flowers never completely disappear.

This is a celebration of family, especially the love between a grandfather and grandchild. Starting with a young girl and the hours she spends with her grandfather and his plants, the book progresses through time. The girl grows and goes her own way, while the grandfather ages, and while he doesn't lose his love for gardening, age forces him to draw back. Time flows calmly forward like a gentle stream. While the girl grows older, a bitter-sweetness takes over as she dreams and thinks of her grandfather. The entire thing ends like a loving hug, making it a feel-good-read with heart.

The scenes are bright but thanks to the sponged texture, carry a gentler tone. The feelings come across clearly, whether happy, sad, or longing. The bright, pink blossoms of the gifted flower pop just enough against the the greens and more neutral blossoms to catch attention without demanding it. And as a cute extra, there's the dog which ages right along with the girl. A new one appears when her own daughter joins the tale, adding a subtle message, which slides right in with the rest of read. 

This is a book to cuddle up with and enjoy for quieter reading times. Plus, it can be used to inspire small green thumbs it grow their own flowers to create gifts of love.

And here she is...

Taeeun Yoo has twice received the prestigious New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award. She has illustrated many books, including Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, which has been published in fourteen countries. The New York Times called it a “sunny, smart, tongue-in-cheek tale.” She is also the illustrator of Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan, which received five starred reviews and was named a best book of the year by many publications. Her other books include So Many Days and Only a Witch Can Fly, both by Alison McGhee, and Round by Joyce Sidman. Taeeun was also the recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Society of Illustrators’ Founders Award. She lives in South Korea with her family.

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