Perfect Picture Book Friday – Planting The Wild Garden

My friend Nancie has the most beautiful garden!  Nine neat beds constructed of railroad ties, filled with a dark, rich mixture of soil and compost.  Tidy rows of sturdy plants, green and healthy-looking against the dark earth.  Lettuces and beans, peas and tomatoes, squash and eggplant, not a weed in sight.  And the whole kit and kaboodle surrounded by a fence to keep the deer out.  It’s a sight to behold and I totally covet it.  It makes me long for a garden!


As you all know, I am the Black Thumb of Poughquag.  Little plants tremble at my approach, and their lives are at risk whenever I’m in charge!  Not intentionally, of course!  It’s just an inborn curse or something.

My daughter is pretty good with plants, but she no longer lives at home and is thus unable to provide the kind of supervision I need to be allowed around plants (i.e. constant! 🙂 )

So we have come up with a solution.  (Hopefully! 🙂 )

Small scale gardening.

Four tiny planters with one plant each on the back deck where the deer (hopefully) can’t reach them and where (hopefully) they will catch my eye often enough that I’ll remember to water them in between her visits.

Have you noticed how many times the word “hopefully” has appeared already?  I’m afraid this does not bode well for my gardening experiment…!

But for better or worse, I have a tomato plant, green beans, mint, and by this weekend I’ll (hopefully – oops, there I go again) have a pea plant.

Think good thoughts and send positive energy to my tiny garden which will undoubtedly need all the help it can get! 🙂

And for today’s Perfect Picture Book, wild gardening that works in spite of black thumbs!

Wild Garden

Title: Planting The Wild Garden

Written By: Kathryn O. Galbraith

Illustrated By: Wendy Anderson Halperin

PeachtreePublishers, 2011, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: nonfiction, nature, seeds, how things grow

Opening: “The farmer and her boy plant their garden.  They drop seeds – tiny, fat, round, and oval – into the earth.  From these seeds, pumpkins and peas, carrots and cabbages will grow.  In the wild meadow garden, many seeds are planted too, but not by farmers’ hands.

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “A farmer and her son plant vegetables in their garden, and the wind carries a few seeds away. Birds and animals may carry some along with them on their travels. Sometimes the rain washes them away to a new and unexpected location. And sometimes something more extraordinary occurs, as in when the pods of the Scotch Broom plant open explosively in the summer heat, scattering seed everywhere like popcorn. Year-round, we all play a role in the dispersal of seeds throughout our landscape, planting the wild garden together.”

Links To Resources: the back of the book contains a bibliography of useful resources; make your own garden: plant seeds in a paper cup or a small pot on the windowsill – flowers or herbs grow quickly and well.  If you have space for more, plant some vegetables!  See what you can grow.  Explore outdoors and see what kind of seeds you find.  Dandelions with their delightful cottony fluff that you can make a wish on and blow?  Winged maple seeds that you can peel back and stick on your nose?  Acorns that you can collect in a bucket and build little houses out of?

Why I Like This Book: In simple language with beautiful illustrations, the author and illustrator team up to share verbal and visual information on how seeds in nature are spread about to propagate.  There are plenty of onomatopoetic and action words to make reading the text interesting, lively, and fun.  Detailed illustrations show close-ups of different kinds of seeds, nuts and pods along with many species of birds and animals who help spread them around.  There is something for everyone in this delightful and informative book.  A great choice for the budding gardener in your house or for a classroom or library.


Text Copyright Kathryn Galbraith 2011, Illustration Copyright Wendy Halperin 2011

I hope you like it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what picture book gems you’ve chosen this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Eat Like A Bear

So there I was, being uber-organized.  My post was written and scheduled not just on time, but AHEAD of time!  And what should happen?

No idea!

But somehow my entire post disappeared – down to the last comma! – so I had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch this morning after barn chores (which was when I realized wordpress had swallowed it whole and my post had never gone up!)  My sincere apologies for the tardiness of this post!

So let’s try again…

It’s May, and on Blueberry Hill, that means the bears are up!

Our bears are black bears – lumbering, relatively peaceful creatures who would just as soon not tangle with people or dogs, but who are more than happy to raid the trash cans in the garage or the bird feeder at every possible opportunity!

We have two regularly-visiting bears in our neck of the woods.  One is young, glossy-coated, and healthy-looking – we have watched him saunter across the yard and help himself to ripe apples from our tree in September.  The other one is an old curmudgeon, scarred and a little thin and scruffy-looking.  His life is much more challenging.  He suffered an injury at some point – caught in a trap? 😦 – and as a result is missing a forefoot.  He has learned to compensate and gets around all right, but I forgive him for raiding the trash cans if I’m foolish enough to leave the garage door open 🙂  Did you know he loves to lick the chocolate residue from inside the foil chocolate easter egg wrappers?  Clearly we are twins separated at birth 🙂

Since I have bears on the brain, today’s Perfect Picture Book is about bears – not black bears, but the threatened brown/grizzly bear that roams the wilds of Alaska and the Rockies and such.  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Eat Like A Bear

Title: Eat Like A Bear

Written By: April Pulley Sayre

Illustrated By: Steve Jenkins

Henry Holt & Co, October 2013, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: nonfiction, animals (bears – brown/grizzly), nature

Opening: “Can you eat like a bear?
Awake in April.  Find food.
But where?

Drink like a bear — from a stream.
Leaping trout?  None about.
Bushes?  Bare.  No berries there.
It’s been four long months since fall,
when you were full.

Brief Synopsis: From the jacket: “Can you eat like a bear?  Be a grizzly bear, waking up in spring.  What is there to eat in April?  In May?  Sniff, listen, and look.  Paw, claw, and pull.  Catch fish, munch berries, and nibble seed-filled pine cones.  But be sure to fill up for the long winter ahead…”

Links To Resources: the back matter in the book is a resource in itself, filled with information on brown/grizzly bears, their habits, habitats, diet, threatened status, and current scientific studies.

Why I Like This Book: the text is interesting, simple and accessible, yet written in engaging language that is fun to read aloud, including little repeated patterns like “paw, claw, pull” that young listeners will learn to anticipate and join in on.  The information presented is age-appropriate and not overwhelming.  The art is a perfect complement for the text – very appealing, making the potentially-scary grizzly bear fairly warm and friendly-looking.  My knowledge of artistic technique is virtually non-existent, but Booklist described it thus: “Jenkins fixes the action in the Rocky Mountains with his trademark cut- and torn-paper collage. Using a variety of materials, including handmade Mexican bark paper for the bears, he achieves a remarkable variety of line and texture, as crisp leaves and flowers contrast with fuzzy fur” which I think gives a pretty good idea of what it looks like 🙂  This is a great title for the nonfiction lover in your life, or for a classroom or library!

I hope you like it as much as I do 🙂


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Text copyright April Pulley Sayre 2013, Illustration copyright Steve Jenkins 2013

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what you chose for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂