Title: The Curious Garden
Author: Peter Brown
Illustrator: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown, 2009
Audience: 4-8 years
Summary: There was once a city without gardens or trees or greenery, a dull and dreary city where everyone stayed inside. Except young, red-headed Liam who, while splashing in the rain one day, discovered a few wildflowers on an elevated railroad track. The plants needed a gardener and Liam set to work with pail and pruning shears and song. And then, page by page, season by season, the garden grew and the city blossomed with both plants and gardeners.
Literary elements at work in the story: A 32 page picture book of a few choice words and delightful, whimsical illustrations. Brown has used acrylic and gouache to create fanciful plant life that changes the city and the community. Children will enjoy spotting Liam in each picture and adults and children alike will “read” these pictures again and again.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? A young boy who loves the outdoors makes the difference. The need to appreciate and care for the plant world around us transcends race, gender and culture.
Theological Conversation Partners: Genesis 1 and 2 remind us that God’s created world is good and that we are stewards of it. Paul reminds us (Romans 8) that creation is caught up in our sin. Psalm 104 describes some of God’s plan for the natural world. Psalm 65:9 (JB) speaks of God as a gardener who visits the earth and waters it. This is a natural for study units about nature and God’s providence, for families that plant gardens with children. (But don’t expect Liam’s results.)
Faith Talk Questions:
- How did the city look without plants?
- Where did the plants Peter discovered come from?
- What did Peter do to make the garden grow?
- What other living things came with the gardens?
- What signs do you see that caring for nature is good for the people around you.
- What does it take for us to make a garden?
- In what ways is God a gardener?
- Plant some seeds and watch them grow. It’s a miracle.
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Virginia Thomas
The Curious Garden by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.