I love my garden. I don't have any great fondness for digging or weeding, but the joy I feel eating a tomato off the vine that I PLANTED is real. I want to share this joy with my children. Fortunately there are some adorable books that can help.
by Bonnie Christensen
The illustrations in this book are jaw-dropping. Gardens become works of art (which is sorta what they are). The story, told in spare verse that sometimes rhymes, is about two friends who work on their garden throughout the entire year. The story ends with a Thanksgiving feast and a final page with notes about growth processes. The final page is really very good. This is a beautiful and informative book for pre-schoolers.
by Julie Fogliano
illustrated by Erin E. Stead
As much a book about longing as it is a book about gardening, And Then It's Spring is a whimsical masterpiece whose best-seller status already defines it as well-loved. It is about a boy who waits, and waits, surrounded by brown, hoping for a hint of green. There is one spectacular illustration in which the boy listens for the hum of green and you can see his little seeds, planted in mounds, growing roots underground, but without shoots yet. You can also see ant and mice tunnels burrowing beneath the little seed roots. The book does not give much information on gardening, but that isn't really it's point. The focus of the story is on the waiting, longing, and yearning for your plants to GROW.
by Stella Fry
illustrated by Sheila Moxley
This story of a boy helping his Grandpa with his garden has all the gritty details. Compost - Grandpa's got it. Slugs - Grandpa's got those too. The book really gives you the sense of a garden as a year-long pursuit with Grandpa out there in every season. After reading it you will feel like you've got dirt under your fingernails. If you actually want to get some dirt under those fingernails there is an informative back section with crop rotation info and more that will help you get started.
by Kathleen Kudlinski
illustrated by David Schuppert
This is not a new title, and it is not a book about gardening, but it so perfectly illustrates how plants grow that I felt I had to include it. With remarkably entertaining text What Do Roots Do? shows us how all plants live and survive through their roots. The illustrations are marvelous. This book makes the science of plant growth a lot of fun!