Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Up, Down, and Around

Up, Down, and Around

Katherine Ayres
Illustrator:  Nadine Bernard Westcott 
Picture Book
For ages 2 to 4
Candlewick Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-0763623784

A little boy and his family are planting a garden. Seeds are dropped into the earth in a row and then they are covered up and watered. Of course the little boy and his dog get a little watered too! And then all kinds of wonderful plants begin to grow "up", and "down" and "around and around."

There is the corn that shoots up and the carrots that go zooming down into the earth. There are the cucumbers and pumpkins that have vines that go around and around, twining this way and that. Okra and broccoli also go up, and potatoes and onions go down. Who would have thought that the story of our vegetables could be so varied and interesting? Who would have thought our garden could be such a wild and wacky place? Well this garden is, and best of all, when all the vegetables are ripe, the little boy and his friends and family all sit down in the garden for a wonderful feast.

With a minimal text and colorful, humorous, and often decidedly goofy illustrations, this celebration of a bountiful garden is likely to encourage all kinds of children to think that having a vegetable garden might be fun. Children will learn how vegetables grow and they will see how alive vegetable gardens are, full of little creatures, flowers, birds, and people trying to control rampant zucchini and tomato plants.