By: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2009
The city looked as gray and overcast as the polluted sky above it. The factory smokestacks spewed their black smoke into the smoggy mix above. Trucks and even a tugboat in the harbor were adding to the mixture. Not many people wanted to go outside, but Liam loved it, "even on drizzly days." Like all curious boys he loved to wander. One day he found a very interesting spot on top of an old railway. The steel rails were intact, but the timbers were rotting and broken. There were, however, a few colorful and interesting things to be seen. They were plants!
Liam never gardened before, but he soon could be seen watering the plants, clipping and snipping and singing to them. After some time Liam "began to feel like a real gardener, and the plants began to feel like a real garden." The garden began to grow and spread down the tracks. There were some weeds moving along and gnarly mosses, but at least they too were colorful. Daisies sprang up everywhere in stark contrast to the destruction and dilapidated buildings around them. Winter came and Liam had to let his little garden lay dormant. In the spring he began to sing and work his magic, but would other people begin to notice the change his little garden had made?
This is a beautiful book with a message of hope and an aura of joy surrounding a little boy who loves his garden. Little by little, each child in the world can contribute in their own small way to reversing the destruction of the environment they unwittingly inherited. The artwork was very quaint and the dark hues changed to bright ones as Liam's garden and dream began to spread to other people. In the back the author offers up his thoughts on how "nature can thrive in the unlikeliest of places."
Quill says: This would be a marvelous read and discuss book in the homeschool and classroom setting!