Sunday, May 15, 2011

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith

40. Planting the Wild Garden
by Kathryn O. Galbraith
illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
children's book, 2011
finished, 5/12/11

Last year I was delighted to be offered a Kathryn O. Galbraith children's book to review in my letters. I loved the book and writing about it was a pleasure for me. Well, this year in February I received an unexpected birthday email. The same publicist offered me a copy of Galbraith's latest book for children called Planting the Wild Garden. And today [I originally wrote and posted this on Thursday, May 12] I read it, sitting outside under the lilac tree on a perfect spring day.

The book begins with a mother and son planting a vegetable garden.

This is the kind of garden a child may readily know about. He may have learned about seeds and vegetables either from his parents or in the classroom. But I would guess that not many young ones know how the wild areas in our landscape are 'planted.' And that's what this wonderful, wonderful book is all about.

We learn the different ways that seeds are scattered: by wind, birds, sun, and water. And we see how wild animals may plant seeds themselves.

And even people have their part in creating a wild meadow, as
Seeds travel on muddy boots. Hitchhike on sweaters. Snag on socks. Sail on a puff of breath.
Isn't the writing lovely. All those 's' words that will delight the listening child snuggled up beside her mother and father. The book is full of fun words like 'snap' 'whishhh' and 'plip-plop' - words which young ones will repeat with great gusto.

And the illustrations are really excellent. They evoke the wonder of the natural world of fish and squirrels and rabbits and flowers. The combination of Galbraith's words and Halperin's drawings is an inspired one.

This is the perfect children's book. I highly recommend you go out and get it for the little ones in your own lives, or just for yourself.

And there's an added treat for bloggers. The book is dedicated to
Pat Leuchtman, dear friend and gardener extraordinaire.
Pat writes the commonweeder blog.


  1. My mum does voluntary work in a kindergarden in our town, reading once a week to all the children who want to listen. A book like this one would probably be very popular!

  2. Oh, I do love children's books so very much. The soft drawings remind me of Garth Williams...

  3. So charming!
    I particularly love the raccoons in their cozy bedroom.

  4. Lovely post. Sounds like the perfect book to read while sitting under the lilac tree. (mm, wish you could send me a bit of that scent!)

    I'll put this on my list for gifts for the great grandsons (which of course I will pre-read for them!).

  5. What a beautiful book... it looks perfect on your Adirondack chair, too!

  6. Nan, This will be a perfect book for me to have as an elementary teacher! I will graduate in December, and presuming I can find a job in this economy, I will soon be filling some humble classroom bookshelves. This book looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing it here!

  7. This looks like a great book Nan. We live in a condo, so I only do flowers.

  8. I love the illustrations in this book-just beautiful!

  9. Charming is just the word, Pamela!

    Sallie, the lilacs haven't quite opened yet, but oh, when they do the air is full of that wonderful smell. I'm sure the boys will love the book, as you will love sharing it with them.

    JoAnn, it is very beautiful - the colors, the drawings, the words. I love that A. chair!

    Aisling, this is your kind of book. I can picture you sharing it with your students.

    They surely would, Ernestine! And you would have fun reading it to them.

    Diane, my mother in law has a beautiful flower garden at her condo. I'll bet yours are lovely, too!

    Sherri, they are great, and they illustrate the author's words so well.

  10. Dear Nan - thank you so much for this. The book is a beauty and I am so honored by the dedication. Kathryn and I met in a writing class in NYC back around 1978, not long before we both left the city, she to another city, Tacoma, and me to the Massachusetts countryside.

  11. It is such a wonderful book, Pat. An honor indeed!

  12. Kay, Blogger just gave me your comment!! The drawings are quite wonderful, and mesh so well with the words.


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