Thursday, September 2, 2010
Title: Water, Weed, and Wait
Author: Edith Hope Fine & Angela Demos Halpin
Illustrator: Colleen Madden
Review Copy Provided by: Random House Children's Books
About the Book: When Miss Marigold challenges the kids at Pepper Lane Elementary to turn an unpromising patch of their schoolyard into a garden full of fruits, flowers, and vegetables, they know they'll need all the help they can get. Soon everyone in the community is lending a hand--including an unlikely neighbor with a soft spot for gardening--and it isn't long before peppers, zuccchini, sugar peas, snapdragons, zinnias, and much more are growing and blooming.
My Review: What a beautiful picture book! This is one that will be loved in classrooms during a unit on plants. I should probably save this review until Spring, but it's too great not to tell you about now.
This book reminded me a little of The Magic School Bus series because the teacher, Miss Marigold, made me think of Ms. Frizzle, with her name and her outfits. There is a grouchy neighbor that the students befriend and turn into a wonderful gardening mentor for them. In the end, everyone is happy, which is a great way to end a picture book!
The pictures themselves are so vivid and bright. Children are sure to love them and want to study them. Each page has a lot going on, that they will want to revisit the book to catch every detail. It's not too much on a page as to overstimulate the reader, but enough to hold their attention and keep them finding some new detail. Colleen Madden did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the children and the school garden that they work together to create.
This book could be used in the classroom for many different themes: Spring, plants, teamwork, friendship, and possibly others that I may not think of. As I was reading it, I had one of my teachers in mind. She refers to her students as her little flowers that grow more and more with each new day and new learning. Sometimes we see results quickly like the students did in their garden with some of the vegetables, but other times we have to wait longer for our work to "sprout." This teacher spends many days teaching (watering), reteaching (weeding) and then watching what her children do (waiting). In the end, she has amazing results, just like the beautiful garden that sprouts!
At the end of the book there are 2 pages dedicated to "Sprouting Your Own School Garden." You can also learn more about this book at the Water, Weed, and Wait website.