The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi Book Poster Image
Terrific drawings star in imaginative tale.

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age 5+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the lesson of what happens when one disregards warnings is soft-pedaled.

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Kid, 11 years old November 9, 2011

not a perfect van allsburg book (with the usage of drugs), but a great one

If there's one book that stands out from all of C.V. Allsburg's others, it's Abdul Gasazi. This book surprisingly got a 4th-grade level at my old... Continue reading

What's the story?

Positively No Dogs Allowed, reads the sign in front of the magician's garden, but Fritz breaks free from Alan and disappears among the mysterious topiary bushes and paths. What happens to the dog? Chris Van Allsburg's award-winning drawings lead readers to the answer.

 

Is it any good?

Readers may be confused about what Allsburg is trying to say: Is this about the consequences of breaking the rules, or is it simply about a child's sense of enchantment? Maybe both.

Spooky houses and gardens populate every child's neighborhood, and in this story, the hero must face his fears to retrieve the bad dog he's responsible for. The lesson of what happens when one disregards warnings is soft-pedaled. 

However, Van Allsburg's drawings are clearly terrific. Drawn in black and white and all shades between, the pictures have depth and grandeur -- like the one of the magician's house, which rises high into the sky. Van Allsburg has captured the story's eeriness with shadowed paths, looming topiary, and an imposing magician.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the consequences of breaking the rules. Kids: When have you broken the rules? What happened?

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