Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Harvey the Gardener

Harvey the Gardener

Lars Klinting
Picture Book  Series
For ages 3 to 5
Kingfisher, 1997   ISBN: 978-0753459546

The plant in Harvey the beaver's windowsill is looking dreadful and he is going to have to get a new one. He is just thinking about what he should get when Chip arrives with the groceries. Chip drops one of the bags and some beans roll across the floor. Seeing the beans gives Harvey an idea. Instead of going out and buying a plant Harvey decides to plant some beans and put the plants on his windowsill.

That night Harvey soaks ten of the bean seeds in some water. The next morning Harvey and Chip consult a gardening book and then they get to work. First they get their tools and supplies together. Then they fill two pots up with soil. Using a planting stick Harvey makes three holes in the earth in each of the pots and puts a bean in each hole. Then he covers up the hole. Chip then waters the beans and Harvey puts the two pots on the windowsill.

Now all they have to do is wait - which Chip finds very hard to do. But, at last, the little bean plants make their appearance and Chip and Harvey have to give them some poles to climb up. Best of all, after the plants have grown for long enough, Chip and Harvey have a delicious bean harvest to eat.

Many children have never grown a plant by themselves and this story will show them just how it is done - and how easy it is to do if you know what to do. Harvey and Chip are such thoroughly likeable characters who take the mystery out of gardening and make it accessible even to someone who has never used a trowel or got their hands dirty with potting soil. An engaging text and appealing illustrations make the story accessible to even the youngest of readers. At the back of the book the author has included a section of "Harvey's Gardening Tips," which are well written and very useful for a novice gardener.