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The Gardener (Caldecott Honor Award) Hardcover – August 30, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (August 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374325170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374325176
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Speaks volumes about the vast impact one small individual can make."

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2. Through her letters to her farm family, Lydia Grace tells how she brightens her uncle's dreary bakery and his disposition with a little dirt and a suitcase full of seeds.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book has become a new favorite for reading with kids.
Missy
Uncle Jim does not smile and Lydia Grace finds the big city very, very big.
Mary G. Longorio
It's beautifully illustrated and the story is sweet as well.
Beth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Joegil K. Lundquist on April 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has such an unexpected gut-level impact on everyone who reads it! I have read it aloud to people of all ages and there is never a dry eye in the room! Each of the short letters begins with a date which will be meaningful to anyone who lived through the depression. Oddly enough, disasters and hard times seem to bring out the best in people and this book sets out to show just how that is true. Lydia Grace Finch is such a universally loveable little character - she is unforgettable! The text and the illustrations are so perfectly suited to each other - they seem to have been created by the same person -but they aren't! (Just a "marriage of true minds" I guess.)The book gets at the heart of what a family can give a child even without money - what it means to be poor and what it means to be rich.
This is a lovely gift book for children or adults and I hope it stays in print for a long, long time!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By sgibbs@somd.lib.md.us on April 11, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
"April showers bring May flowers." Sarah Stewart's The Gardener brings us the winsome story of a young flower lover, Lydia Grace Finch. Forced by the hard times of the Depression, Lydia leaves her family to go to the unfamiliar city to stay with her Uncle Jim, an unsmiling baker. While traveling by train, Lydia writes to Uncle Jim, admitting she knows nothing about baking, but a lot about gardening. In Lydia's subsequent letters to her Mama, Papa, and Grandma we discover just what Lydia thinks of the city, subdued Uncle Jim, and learning to bake bread. David Small's pen and ink drawings with their softly hued watercolor washes fill the large pages with detailed views of Lydia's adventure. Where in the big gray city can Lydia ever grow all the seeds and bulbs her Grandma sends her? Will Lydia ever coax a smile from Uncle Jim? Read Lydia's charming letters to find out how one determined slip of a girl brightens her city corner of the grim 1930's world.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a first year teacher, I am constantly looking for new literature to share with my children. The Reading Specialist at my school shared this book with me as part of our preparations for a retirement luncheon for our principal. Our principal, also an avid gardener, truly brought light and love to those she contacted in her 30+ years with our school district. I cried with the Reading Teacher when she showed me this book, and then eagerly ran out and bought the book for myself. When I shared it with my children later that week, they were all moved by Lydia Grace's courage and love as much as I was. This book reached my class and I on many different levels. The students, being a little younger than Lydia, learned about a time long gone, and what children in the past had to do for their families. We talked about sacrifices that had to be made, and making the best of what seems at first to be a bad situation. I am so glad I was able to share this book with so many different types of people. This book has touched many lives.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are good David Small books and there are bad David Small books. Good David Small books are usually (though by no means always) written AND illustrated by David Small himself. Bad or poorly created David Small books are usually written by someone else, using Mr. Small's talents as a kind of afterthought. The exception to this rule (and all rules, as you well know, must have exceptions) is the pairing of David Small and his wife Sarah Stewart. After creating the fabulous "Money Tree" and the bibliophilic, but somewhat disturbing, "The Library", the two combined their talents yet again to write a gentle story of love, gardening, and family.

The year: 1935, and Lydia Grace Finch is being sent from the country to go live with her Uncle Jim in the city. Lydia Grace faces this challenge with resolve and a little sadness. After all, she is leaving her family behind, the effects of the Great Depression having taken their toll. The city is a gray dirty place and Uncle Jim is kind but he never smiles. Soon, it's Spring again and Lydia has found a place to call her own (the building's abandoned roof). Her number one goal is to get Uncle Jim to smile, and she's fairly certain that the answer to this goal is just around the corner.

What Stewart and Small have accomplished here is an evocative sense of metropolitan dank and pastoral greenery. The pictures are deeply moving sometimes, and gently humorous others. One picture that particularly took by breath away was the shot of Lydia Grace standing in the train station alone. She is singled out, a blue dress wearing, green hat donning, red-haired little girl. The rest of the scene is all gray slashes of people walking in the distance and filthy light streaming through huge windows overhead. It's a gorgeous picture.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on May 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Lydia Grace Finch has been sent to to the city to live with her Uncle Jim while her family struggles with hard times. Uncle Jim does not smile and Lydia Grace finds the big city very, very big. Soon she is able to make friends with the workers at her uncle's bakery and the neiighbors in her building. With a child's enthusiasm and optimism, Lydia works to bring a little bit of the farm back home to her new city home. She also hopes to see a smile cross her Uncle Jim's face one day. Slowly, she is able to transform the roof of her apartment into a magical place and win that coveted smile. Sarah Stewart has written a delightful story of a child's optimism and the power of a smile. Davis Small's illustrations are garenteed to bring a smile to your face. A wonderful book to read aloud.
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