Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small

This story, told though letters from a girl to her relatives is a touching portrayal of life during the depression. Lydia Grace is sent to live with her Uncle because her father has lost his job and no one seems to want dresses sewed by her mother anymore. Lydia Grace schooled in the art of gardening by her grandmother transforms not only the outside with flowers but through her zeal for life, her Uncle’s love she captures. In the end, Lydia Grace is able to return home and be with her mother, father and beloved Grandmother where in the final picture the pair are shown walking side-by-side out to the garden because “we gardeners never retire”. I cry when I read this book and it’s because I love gardening and learned from my grandfather. Perhaps there is a love you share with a grandparent, relative or friend and this story would spark that memory. Sometimes this story just reminds me that there is hope for tomorrow in the plants we grow and the people we love and we can never retire from that work. It’s a personal favorite and while not easily read aloud to a group, certainly one to snuggle up with on the couch with your kids. Maybe, like Lydia Grace you too could send a letter and thank the one who has taught you.

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