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MY NANA'S GARDEN by Dawn Casey Kirkus Star


by Dawn Casey ; illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Pub Date: March 23rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1711-7
Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

A girl and her nana explore her garden together.

Over the years, a little girl pays many visits to her nana’s house and garden. Where the girl sees lots of weeds, her nana reframes it: “Wildflowers,” she says: “food for the bees.” They pick apples, sing in the rain, look at animal homes, and stargaze by firelight. As the seasons cycle, the girl and her mother continue to visit and, increasingly, to help her nana in the “lovely and wild” garden. Then one winter, Nana is gone, and the snow-filled garden and empty chair reflect the sad, quiet feelings the girl experiences. But even as the girl sits, forlorn, in the chair, a cross section shows two foxes snuggled in a burrow under the snow. And as winter turns to spring, the girl learns life goes on through honoring those we love and carrying on their work. There is so much beauty in this heartwarming story. Written in rhyming couplets, the simple text flows smoothly. The stunning, delicate illustrations fill in the gaps left by the text, depicting the charm of the garden, Nana’s aging, the family’s emotions, and the girl’s growth. The artwork provides a wonderful display of three—and then four—generations and the love they share. The girl and mother have brown skin and long, black hair while Nana has paler brown skin and white hair. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.8-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60.4% of actual size.)

A beautiful, touching story of a family’s love and loss, the garden both metaphor and place of healing.

(Picture book. 3-8)