In my garden

Charlotte Zolotow, 1915-2013

Book - 2020

A young girl describes what she loves most in her garden during each season.

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Picture books
New York : Neil Porter Books, Holiday House [2020]
Main Author
Charlotte Zolotow, 1915-2013 (author)
Other Authors
Philip Christian Stead (illustrator)
First edition
Item Description
"Neal Porter Books."
Originally published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard in 1960 and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin.
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Reinterpreting a 50-year-old text, Stead gives this version images that simultaneously pay homage to the past and feel new. A young girl, often dressed in overalls with her hair in a long braid, describes the things she loves most, and most loves to do, in her garden. Birds, roses, chrysanthemums, and snow each appear as the seasons change, while the girl stays busy flying kites, picnicking, raking leaves, and ice skating. The lilting text follows a repetitive framework, but each season brings a fresh twist. The rural setting is not specific about the time period, but one compelling spread shows the girl and an older woman (her grandmother?) removing the tires from an abandoned car and repurposing them as a swing and planters. The unique illustrations employ oil-ink monotype techniques and carbon transfer printing to create images that feel simple and nostalgic. The execution, however, is complex, with picture elements layered on each other and on textured backgrounds. This is the best kind of picture book, offering a satisfying reading experience while leaving plenty of space for wondering.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Stead (Music for Mister Moon) takes this seasonal poem, first published in 1960 by the late writer and editor Zolotow, and divides its lines between two speakers. One, an older woman in a red raincoat and loose braid, treasures the seasons through her garden. "In the spring what I love best in my garden are the birds building nests." She also likes "red tulips... violets and hyacinths and daffodils," yet she returns, loyally, to the birds: "But in the spring what I love best... are the birds building nests." The other, a child wearing a yellow slicker and red boots, marks the seasons with play: "In the spring what I love most to do is fly kites." Other activities call, but kites are her favorite. Zolotow's pleasing list of bests continues through summer, fall, and winter. In loose, pale washes and warm, organic lines, Stead renders a garden that isn't particularly elegant or manicured--there's a stone wall, a tree with a swing, an abandoned car and tire planters, a pond to skate on. Small creatures come and go. It's an intergenerational look at companionable contentment derived from the simplest things, anchored in the natural world. Ages 3--6. Author's estate: Edite Kroll, Edite Kroll Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Mgmt. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-K--Changing seasons bring new things to do and see in the garden. A young girl, her mother, and their cat enjoy spending time together there. In the spring, the girl loves watching birds in the trees and flying kites. Summer is marked by beautiful roses and lunch under the pear tree. As fall approaches, chrysanthemums bloom and leaves get raked into piles for jumping into. Finally, winter is accompanied by snow and ice-skating on the pond. While the young girl likes many things about each dynamic season, she has favorites that stand out among the rest. The formulaic structure of this story provides a framework that readers of all ages will appreciate. Sixty years after Zolotow wrote the book, its message continues to resonate now that the tale has been reimagined with new illustrations. The hand-drawn images and soft, muted colors transport readers into the calm, serene feeling of a garden throughout the year. From start to finish, readers will find relatable sentiments peppered throughout the pages of this story. VERDICT Preschoolers will enjoy finding a quiet moment to read this book with their caregivers as they discuss the many notable aspects of each season.--Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A picture-book update that does Zolotow's legacy proud.Stead has carved out a spot in contemporary picture books after years of study of the form. He says as much in his dedication to the late author and editor Zolotow, noting that he began collecting picture books, including hers, as a teenager. His stunning artistic interpretation of this text (first published in 1960) is a triumph in how it matches the writing's quiet tone without sacrificing visual interest. Historians of the form may find it curious that the original artist, Roger Duvoisin, is not acknowledged except on the copyright page. But perhaps there is a visual tribute: Like Duvoisin, Stead illustrates a black cat, unmentioned by the text, who accompanies a young child (who appears white) through the seasons and the garden. Stead adds a woman (also white-appearing) to the illustrations, perhaps the child's mother or grandmother, whose presence enhances the sense of wonder and quiet delight in the spreads. Her kindly ways offer steady assurance that this child is safe and beloved while exploring the world. What's more than that, the woman clearly nurtures the child's love of nature, as when she hangs a birdhouse while the child's first-person narration reads "in the spring what I love best in my garden are the birds building nests."A picture book to love best in all seasons. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.