From Publishers Weekly
The opening spread of Ray's (Hokusai) well-conceived picture book shows a winter scene and an empty house up the street from narrator Lily's, where her grandparents lived before they moved from Maine to California. Even though they will not be reunited until Christmas, the bond between Lily and her grandparents remains strong, thanks to their shared love of gardening. Ray traces their communications from January to December (one month per spread). As Lily describes the progress of her outdoor efforts, Grandma responds with tips and encouragement. In June, for instance, " `I always loved bunnies. Now, I know why Grandpa sometimes calls them pesky critters,' I told Grandma." The accompanying scene depicts Lily at the moment she discovers the remains of her lettuce, as the cotton-tailed thieves make their escape. Grandma advises, "Ask Mom to put camphor balls around your garden. The smell makes the bunnies stay away." Related sidebars on the left of each spread offer additional information about gardening and related topics: a recipe for blueberry pancakes for August and, for November, a brief history of harvest celebrations. Ray's realistic artwork portrays the way light changes from the fluorescence of winter to the orange glow that blankets the world in autumn. An accessible guide to gardening and a constructive way to cope with an absent loved one. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-One January, after her grandparents move from their wintry home in Maine to California, they send Lily a box of oranges. From February's maple syrup, March's pea planting, and April's daffodils to fall harvest and December's tree hunt, the child goes through the seasons on the farm, thinking about the activities she used to share with them. Finally, the Christmas tree is decorated with the help of her grandparents, who are back for the holidays. Kogan-Ray's soft pastel and colored-pencil drawings cheerfully depict the girl's gentle and bright world. Each spread includes a box with relevant information, such as how to make syrup, pumpkin lore, and recipes for blueberry pancakes and zucchini bread. Team this up with Donald Hall's Ox-Cart Man (Viking, 1979) and Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's A Farm of Her Own (Dutton, 2001) for an engaging unit on New England farms, old and new.Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.