Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lily's Victory Garden

Lily's Victory Garden

Helen L. Wilbur
Illustrator:  Robert Gantt Steele 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Sleeping Bear Press, 2010   ISBN: 1585364509

Every Saturday Lily and her brother Jack walk around the neighborhood collecting scrap metal and grease for the war effort. One of the houses on their route belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Bishop, whose son was the first person in their town to die in combat. Theirs is a sad and quiet house and no one ever sees Mrs. Bishop any more.

One day Lily reads that the town is going to turn the town park into Victory Garden plots “for citizens to help the war effort by growing vegetables.” Lily is eager to participate, but she is too young to be given a plot. Not being one to give up easily, Lily decides to ask the Bishops, who have a large yard, if they would let her use a little space to create a Victory Garden. Mr. Bishop is against the idea, but Mrs. Bishop tells her husband to let Lily use “the old kitchen garden.” No one knows that Lily’s Victory Garden is going to grow a lot more than just beets, beans, peas, and melons.

This touching picture book not only gives one a picture of what the home front was like, but it also shows young readers that gardening is an incredibly rewarding, fulfilling, and often even a healing thing to do. With a heartwarming story and charming watercolor illustrations throughout, this is a wonderful addition to the Tales of Young Americans series.