Review: My Garden 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
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
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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