A Year in Our New Garden by Gerda Muller. Floris, 2021. 9781782507093
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Beautiful hand drawn illustrations show a family’s new city garden through the seasons. Anna and Benjamin and their parents work to transform the empty lot in a quaint European city, with buildings all around, into a garden with plots for the kids and parents. A young neighbor who uses a wheelchair gives gardening advice and becomes friends with the two youngsters.
The gouache, colored pencil and graphite art includes cozy, warm realistic depictions of the flora and fauna around the garden, as well as diagrams, drawings of tools and steps for different plantings and simple craft projects using garden elements. The larger size of the book allows for grand vistas, but also makes use of page corners and edges for charming detailed drawings. Muller is an amazing artist – in a scene of a campfire, it looks as if the smoke is right under the reader’s nose.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Except for the appearance of one friend, all people depicted are white.
To whom would you recommend this book? For fans of Muller’s How Does My Garden Grow? and young readers and their families who enjoy urban gardening. For ages 4-7.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: August 14, 2021