Emily Green’s Garden
New Frontier, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Emily Green lives in a perfectly lovely house, in a perfectly lovely street where people are always bustling, hurried and hustling, too busy to talk to each other or relax and pass the time of day.
Like the others in the street, each day Emily and her parents scrub and dust and polish until their whole house sparkles from top to bottom, so all the houses are nice and neat, front porches are spic-and-span and the street is shipshape.
But secretly, Emily would like to explore and play and create and make some mess, so one day when she catches a glimpse of something green on the pavement, she has an idea. After a visit the library to learn more about plants, she creates something magical inside her home but when it starts to get out of hand, and her parents decide the garden has to go, Emily know she just needs to share it with others…
Once again, as in The Art Garden, Penny Harrison has used the joy of plants as the core of this new book so beautifully illustrated by Megan Forward who illustrated one of my all-time favourite Christmas books, All I Want for Christmas is Rain. The ingenuity of this story is that Emily has to grow everything indoors to start with, thus showing even the apartment-dwellers amongst our students that is possible to bring a little of the outside indoors, perhaps even inspiring them to have a go, themselves.
After spotting the seedling growing in the crack in the footpath, Emily goes to the library to find out more about plants so the obvious question to ask is, “What did she find out about growing plants?” This should start an investigation into the needs, characteristics, habits and importance of plants and perhaps even spark some practical experiments as well.
One to share and explore as the autumn planting season looms… plenty of time to prepare.