Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sunflower Houses : Inspiration from the Garden - A Book for Children and Their G

Sunflower Houses : Inspiration from the Garden - A Book for Children and Their G

Sharon Lovejoy
For ages 8 to 12
Workman Publishing Company, 2001   ISBN: 0761123865

When Sharon Lovejoy was a little girl, she lived in her grandmother’s redwood cottage, which was surrounded by a wonderful garden. In this garden, Sharon discovered all kinds of games to play, playthings to make, and activities to do. She learned about the flowers, plants, shrubs and trees, and a lifelong love for nature and gardens was born. As an adult, Sharon set about sharing this love with others, and she found out that people of all kinds have wonderful garden-centric stories to tell her. They are happy to “share stories with me about their childhood experiences in gardens or with flowers.” Sharon has taken these stories, and combined them with her own ideas, memories, and knowledge to create this remarkable book.

The book begins with a chapter about plants that “most attract children.” Certain plants seem to be made for children because of their shape, their color, their fragrance, and their form. The Chinese Lantern plant has flowers that are perfect for a doll tea party that has a Chinese theme. Hollyhocks can be used to make wonderful little dolls, “fairy goblets, and leis.” Their seed pods “make good play money, too.” Pumpkins, both big and small, are beloved by children. They can be carved and eaten, and they are splendid “personality plants.”

Sharon then goes on to talk about how to plan a garden, how to create and enjoy “Secret Places,” how to make flower dolls, how to appreciate an old tree, how to make toys using things provided by nature, and more.

This is a book that parents, teachers, and caregivers will love. Sharon’s obvious love of nature, and her passion for sharing that love with others comes through loud and clear. She has created lovely illustrations to accompany the text, and there are quotes, sidebars, and text boxes to look at as well. This is the kind of book that you can dip into at random. When you resurface, you will be inspired to go out into the garden to enjoy the gifts that it has to offer.