Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2.5
Genre: Fantasy (Nonfiction content)
What did you like about the book? Maker Comics has a noble goal to teach young readers and get them excited about DIY projects. Frederick-Frost creates a cute world of garden gnomes learning about the noble art of horticulture. Each student has a distinct personality with no character being a clear protagonist as they all work together; illustrations show that some of these students are people of color. Every page is filled with vibrant scenery that skillfully depicts the steps of each gardening project
As the gnomes learn the many different types of plants and growing techniques something nefarious lurks just out of sight. Could a rival teacher be plotting something in the greenhouse?
Anything you didn’t like about it? Overall, this installment of the series fails to meet its basic goals of both educating readers and presenting an enticing story; the structure ultimately cancels both out. While there is indeed a nefarious villain and even a few other tidbits of plot, it rarely gets enough page time to make an impression. While the activities are interesting and easy for the intended age group, each guide is presented in speech bubbles making it difficult to follow if you were to execute the DIY. There is also no table of contents to locate a project later.
To whom would you recommend this book? Budding gardeners (pun intended) will appreciate the mix of story and projects. This would be most appropriate for early elementary readers around grades 3-5. However, students just seeking gardening tips can turn to a regular DIY book while those seeking a garden-based graphic novel will certainly love Mighty Jack by Hatke.
Who should buy this book? Libraries as an additional purchase where nonfiction graphic novels need bulking up.
Where would you shelve it ? J Nonfiction graphic novels (If your library doesn’t have a J GN nonfiction collection, regular nonfiction is the strongest choice)
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: March 21, 2020