Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Curious Garden

The Curious Garden

Peter Brown
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Little Brown, 2009   ISBN: 978-0316015479

Liam lives in a city that is grey and dreary and gardenless. There is not a tree or a shrub or a flower in the place. Not surprisingly, most to the people who live in the city stay indoors, but Liam still likes to explore outside, even when it is raining.

One day Liam finds an old elevated train track that has been out of use for years. Amongst the crumbling railway ties, he sees “a lonely patch of color.” Somehow, in this inhospitable place, a few plants have managed to cling to life. They need help though, and the very next day Liam sets about watering, pruning, and generally tending the plants.

After a few weeks, Liam begins to feel that he is “a real gardener,” and the plants begin to feel “like a real garden.” In fact, the garden is feeling so robust that it begins to grow restless. It wants to spread and explore, and this is exactly what it does.

In this award-winning book, Peter Brown takes us to a world that is transformed when a garden becomes curious. The story and the art combine to give readers an uplifting reading experience that they will remember for years to come. What makes this book particularly special, is that it shows readers what could be, what is possible, and readers may be tempted to create their own curious garden on a rooftop, a window ledge, or on an abandoned railroad track.