Review: My Garden by Kevin Henkes
By Kevin Henkes
Tone. Itâ€™s a tricky thing. If an author slips up in this area, a book can come across as confusing, or worse, condescending. Kevin Henkes knows tone well, and My Garden is the proof. It doesnâ€™t scream. It doesnâ€™t beg. It subtly pulls young readers in, and keeps them there. A simple story set to imagination-triggering imagery.
A straw hat-wearing girl loves to help her mother in the garden, watering plants and chasing away rabbits. But, given the chance, she would grow a garden that is truly unique. A garden where sunflowers come in patterns, seashells grow, and carrots are invisible (our heroine doesnâ€™t like carrots, you see). But thatâ€™s all a fantasy, right? The little girl decides to plant a seashell anyway, just to see what happens
You know how musicians have phases? They dabble in a certain sound or style for a while, then later an album comes out titled â€œThe (Insert Title Here) Sessionsâ€? My Garden is out of the Old Bear Sessions. The soft pastels of the watercolor and ink illustrations will remind many of Henkes 2008 stunner. This is not a bad thing.
Quietly successful on all fronts, My Garden is likely to end up on best-of lists in 2010, and win over young readers for some time to come.
Browse inside My Garden:
Review copy from library
Also reviewed by Kids Lit, Brimful Curiosities, Hooray for Books!.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: *Best New Books*, Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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