Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 132: The Curious Garden

We haven’t even had snow here yet this winter and I’m already thinking about spring!  The worst part is, it hasn’t even really been that cold here yet (though I hear it’s coming this week...)  In thinking about the chilly week that lies ahead, all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch with my little ones and a cup of tea and read some of the new (and wonderful!) books that they got for Christmas.  They got several stories we have been hoping to add to our personal collection for some time, as well as some other new titles I hadn’t heard of before.  One lovely new book my son got from his Uncle Jeff is Peter Brown’s The Curious Garden.  We’ve read it each night at bedtime for the past few days, as well as at some other times in between.  Each time we read it, I manage to love it even more, and I’m so happy that my son enjoys it as much as I do.  The book has a wonderfully soothing quality to it (hence why we love reading it at bedtime), and the subtle language Brown uses throughout is as beautiful as his illustrations.  The Curious Garden tells the story of a young boy named Liam, who stumbles upon a few plants growing in the unlikeliest of places:  a old, abandoned railway in the middle of the dreary, gray city he calls home.  Fortunately for the plants (and later, for the rest of the city), Liam is determined to help them grow.  “Most gardens stay in one place,” but as Liam soon learns, “this was no ordinary garden.  With miles of open railway ahead of it, the garden was growing restless.  It wanted to explore.  The tough little weeds and mosses were the first to move.  They popped up farther and farther down the tracks and were closely followed by the more delicate plants...”  By the end of the summer, Liam and his garden have made their way to every corner of the railway.  But then, as it does, winter arrives, and Liam can no longer spend his days exploring his garden.  Instead, he busies himself preparing for the next growing season ahead, and before he knows it, more than just new plants are popping up:  a whole community of new gardeners is popping up, too.  As the months and years pass, Liam’s garden and spirit grows, until the entire city has blossomed into one lovely arboretum.  It’s lovely to picture, isn’t it?  I just love Brown’s early juxtaposition of the beautiful, thriving plants and the city’s boarded-up windows and pollution-spewing smokestacks, and his pictures of the garden city in the final pages of the book are inspiring and wonderful.  I especially love reading the author’s note at the end.  If you ever read this book, don’t pass it by.  Turns out, Liam’s railway is based on Manhattan’s old elevated railway, the High Line, and the gardens which now grace its rails.  More importantly, though, you’ll share in Brown’s sense of wonder and curiosity about nature and our place in it.  The jacket cover describes The Curious Garden as “a magical story about a boy’s dream and how the efforts of one small person can help change the world.”  In the same vein as one of my all-time favorite stories, Miss Rumphius, The Curious Garden inspires me to make the world a more beautiful place, and give my children the tools, compassion, and desire to do the same.


Post a Comment