Monday, January 18, 2010

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Imagine a city without gardens, trees, flowers, or any greenery of any kind. That’s the world that Liam lives in, and it’s a dirty, gray world with lots of factories and trucks giving off large belches of pollution. Then one day, Liam sees “a lonely patch of color.” It’s not much: a few wildflowers, a patch of grass, and a dying little tree. But that’s all it takes to spark Liam’s determination, and before long he has transformed this lonely patch into a thriving rooftop garden. The garden, invigorated by this care and attention, starts to spread throughout the city. Winter falls, but the next spring the Liam brings the garden back – and before long he has a number of helpers, fellow lovers of gardens and nature. The story is slight, but the illustrations are what really make this book. The shades of greens, yellows and reds transform the dingy gray city into a living, breathing world and you can slowly see the passage of time (in one scene, Liam is sitting in the garden on a blanket, talking with a girl, and I thought, "She's way too old for him!" But then I looked closer, and Liam had grown older without me even noticing it.). It’s a book that I think will go over especially well right now, about nature and local action, but it’s more than just that – it’s also a beautifully illustrated book.

Find it on Amazon.

Read it with:
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Redwoods by Jason Chin
Night Cars by Teddy Jam
Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres

I got this book from: my library.


  1. Caroline,

    thank you for the review. The first element that draws me to this book is the cover. It is what I noticed first. I love it, and what it already says about the story. The juxtaposition of colors is interesting as well.

    Thanks to your review, I want to check it out. :)

  2. I'm looking for green books to read at my son's elementary school. This looks perfect.