The Wall and the Wild by Christina Dendy, illustrated by Katie Rewse. Lantana Publishing, 2021. 9781913747435
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? Ana’s garden is full of beautiful plants, yummy vegetables, and helpful insects and animals. People come to visit her garden because it is truly lovely. When Ana starts picking through her garden and pitching seeds and plants that “don’t belong” she soon finds that her plants stop thriving. On the other side of the wall that she has built she can hear people commenting about the loveliness of the Wild and she can see beautiful plants poking through the stones and she wonders what is going on. Finally, she climbs the wall to see what all the noise is about and discovers that diversity in community is what creates beauty. Mixed media illustrations by Katie Rewse keep us in the moment and in the mood. Light and bright pictures show Katie’s garden at the beginning and then brings down the mood as darkness descends. An explosion of color accompanies the page turn as we see what Katie sees for the first time as she looks over her wall. Of course, this allegory promotes diversity, an idea that is sustained in the author’s “Did you know…?” at the end. “Your community is an ecosystem, too! It needs different people to help it grow.”
Anything you didn’t like about it? The story was a little see-through and a bit didactic.
To whom would you recommend this book? Anyone who is looking at diversity, communities, or even gardens. The art is lovely.
Who should buy this book? Public and school libraries that work with young kids.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 21, 2021