The Gardener

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
The Gardener Book Poster Image
A tale of hope to treasure.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Violence & Scariness

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byAmanda_Amador April 29, 2011


I loved it! It was very interesting and a great thriller i was determind to read all of it i never put the book down even for a second. When the book came to a... Continue reading
Adult Written byCindy123 April 9, 2008
Kid, 10 years old March 1, 2010

it is very nice

i like this book because it is very intersting and intertaining book.Everybody should read this book

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?

Book details

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