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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in this book set during the Depression, a girl has talent for seeing and creating beauty.
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What's the Story?
Because of her family's financial woes during the Depression, Lydia Grace is sent to work in Uncle Jim's bakery in the city. In her upbeat letters, Lydia Grace shares her joy as she fills her uncle's empty window boxes and makes new friends.
Is It Any Good?
Lydia Grace's talent for seeing and creating beauty makes THE GARDENER a tale of hope to treasure. Lydia Grace arrives in a gloomy train station, shown in a wordless double-page spread that communicates perfectly her smallness in the vast city. Undaunted by the change in her surroundings and by her unsmiling uncle, she immediately sets about planting flowers. When she finds a secret place and devises a plan, the excitement builds. We are as eager as Lydia Grace to share the secret.
David Small's watercolors with pen and ink perfectly complement the text, highlighting details such as a cat's scrawniness and the bare light bulbs in the kitchen. Children will be excited to see Lydia Grace create beauty from squalor, to see if she can get Uncle Jim to smile, and to see the surprise conclusion which avoids cliche.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the way Lydia Grace brightens the world of the people around her. If you were in her shoes, do you think you'd be able to be so upbeat? Where do you find beauty when life seems dark?
- Author: Sarah Stewart
- Illustrator: David Small
- Genre: Adventure
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: October 1, 1997
- Number of pages: 32
- Award: Caldecott Medal and Honors
- Last updated: September 3, 2015
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