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Jo MacDonald Had a Garden (Jo MacDonald Series) Paperback – March 1, 2012
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Quattlebaum and Bryant follow up their successful Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond (2011) with new lyrics to the same song, while keeping the nature focus. This time, Jo MacDonald and her cousin Mike make a garden. From digging the earth and planting the seeds, to watering, harvesting and enjoying the fruits of their labors, the two care for their garden habitat and the animals that visit it. Readers can tend their own imaginary gardens along with the pair, as the illustrations and text suggest motions to accompany the familiar tune. Careful observers can track the new plants and animals that arrive with each page turn and read more about them in the backmatter, which also includes some garden facts and tips, comprehension questions, activity extension ideas and a list of resources for gardening information specifically geared toward children. Bryant s watercolors reflect a childlike enthusiasm. . . This is likely to be a popular spring and garden story time choice. Kirkus Reviews (January 2012) --Kirkus Reviews (January 2012)
Old MacDonald s granddaughter, Jo, discovers a quiet pond on the farm, thereby bringing a new ecosystem to today s readers within the familiar framework of a song they know and love. With notebook in hand, Jo draws each animal she spies as the pond community comes to life with a 'blurp-blurp here' and a 'scree-scree there.' When a largemouth bass leaps to catch a whirring dragonfly (but fortunately misses), he makes a huge splash that scatters the animals, and the pond is once again quiet. Young children will chime in at singing the tune as they enjoy the onomatapoeia and meet eight pond inhabitants. Bryant's appealing, soft-flowing watercolors offer clues as to what animal comes next and are great for encouraging predictions. Back matter includes Jo s drawings, an activity for kids to match sounds to animals, information on the flora and fauna, and ideas about how to become a naturalist like Jo. --Patricia Austin, ALA booklist
Every once in awhile, a picture book is the perfect marriage of text and art; the art, design, and layout of this new vision of the familiar childhood song is a lovely example. Observant readers will be clued-in from the front cover that there are a lot of things to watch for as the pages reveal Jo's afternoon at the pond. Prepared with her sketchbook, she is seen dashing down to the pond on the double-page spread with the bibliographic information. Beginning with reeds that 'swish-swish here' (and 'there'), the reader is treated to the appearance of the pond's inhabitants one by one, as they are spotted and then drawn by Jo, who is obviously fascinated by nature. The text is full of wonderfully descriptive sounds that match each animal children will love to echo the 'scree-scree' of the red-winged blackbird, 'chat-chat' of the raccoon, 'flick-flick' of the white-tailed deer, and the 'whir-whir' of the dragonfly that flits across the beautiful watercolors. Bryant's visual additions expand the storyline by revealing Jo's experiences as the story-song progresses, allowing the reader to make many 'hidden' discoveries and immerse themselves in the pond microcosm. Readers will anticipate and predict which creature will be introduced next; even younger readers can be encouraged to do so. Here, Bryant is simply brilliant with the small glimpses that she 'sneaks' onto the right-hand page, creating giddy drama as the page is turned to spotlight a specific animal. My favorite spread shows a close call for the dragonfly there are fish in MacDonald's pond! Topping off all of this charm is an activity in the back which encourages readers to match fabulous sounds to their makers. Backmatter also includes other activities for children of different ages, as well as an educational section that discusses the 'Pond Community.' Lists of books and websites are also included to round out this valuable contribution to classrooms, libraries, and homes. This book is perfect for sharing nature (science and ecology) with children in a 'most natural' way. It is positively perfect for read aloud sessions and a delight to share with a youngster one-on-one --Sheilah Egan, Children's Literature
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So, what did Jo plant in her garden and what will she reap? Many people have found gardening to be a pleasurable activity for a number of reasons, whether they have a big farm garden or a small city garden. It gets one outdoors and provides some good exercise. Furthermore, home grown food is tastier and more nutritious than store-bought produce, and it saves money too. The back pages of the book increase the educational experience of the reader by giving more information about the garden community, sharing some indoor activities that will enable children to enjoy garden-related fun year round, explaining how to be a gardener like Jo, and providing resources for helping young gardeners. There are also additional downloadable activities for this and all other Dawn Publication books at their website.
Another wonderful book is Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond by the same author which introduces who Jo MacDonald is.