Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

  Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin, Peachtree, 9781561457915, 2011 (paperback version, 2018)

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Paperback

What did you like about the book?  Most children probably know that plants grow from seeds. Familiarity with farmers’ planting seeds, however, doesn’t explain how the wild plants we see all around us get their start. Beautiful and finely detailed water color images, cleverly broken into time-lapse panels educate readers as to how these species propagate. Wind is shown whistling through a tree and over a dandelion, as aerodynamically-designed seeds float by. Other seeds that are spread by animals, such as thistles, are shown with the goldfinches that eat the seeds and then release them in their droppings. Seeds from the cocklebur cling to a fox’s coat and then drop off as she chases a rabbit. The prose and illustrations work well together, with the expressive language (raccoons amble home after feasting on blackberries, Scotch broom pods snap, snap like popcorn) making this a good read aloud.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No. Thankfully, the information in the book has maintained its currency, although the book originally appeared in 2011. Wild seeds haven’t changed much.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Children with specific questions about seeds and plants would enjoy this book. A first or second grade class could pair it with a study on seeds or a nature walk to see how many wild seeds they can collect (acorns, pine cones, whirligigs from a maple tree, all shown here).  Elementary-age children looking for a science fair project would find ideas here.

Who should buy this book? Elementary or public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? 581.4

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: November 14, 2020

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