Posted in picture books

The Wild Garden brings a community together

The Wild Garden, by Cynthia Cliff, (May 2022, Prestel Publishing), $16.95, ISBN: 9783791375120

Ages 5-9

Jilly is a young girl who lives with her grandfather and her dog, Blue, in a small village. The community where they live works together to plan and grow their village garden as Jilly, Bleu, and Grandpa¬† wander the woods outside the village walls, foraging in the wild garden for berries, nuts, and edible greens. When the community considers knocking down a wall to expand their garden, Jilly and Grandpa take action to raise awareness and respect for the wildlife currently living and thriving there. Alternating spreads show the community working together to care for their gardens and Jilly, Grandpa, and Bleu exploring the woods. The narrative and illustrations show both sides of a coin: love of nature and working together. Jilly and her grandfather create a walking path with signs to invite their neighbors to explore the area and develop their own relationships with the land. Once understanding is achieved, they create a “new kind of garden” where the people and the wildlife coexist. Colorful illustrations show diverse townspeople working and playing together; natural areas are vibrant with life. The story moves through the seasons, with a color palette that shifts from verdant greens to warm oranges and yellows. A good story about community and on coexisting with nature.

 

 

Posted in picture books

Pie for Breakfast brings everyone together!

Pie for Breakfast: Simple Baking Recipes for Kids, by Cynthia Cliff, (Apr. 2021, Prestel Junior), $16.95, ISBN: 9783791374604

Ages 6-9

Hazel and her dad love baking together, and the house smells delicious when they do! When Hazel has the idea to organize a bake sale for the school fair, with the proceeds benefiting the library, she recruits her friends and their families to help, with delicious results! Each family’s recipe makes it into Pie for Breakfast, and they sound delicious: pumpkin empanadas, vegan chocolate cake, easy jam tarts, nankhatai cookies, and strawberry mochi are only a few of the fourteen recipes you’ll find in here. Each spread features an illustration of one of Hazel’s friends and, in some cases, family members, baking in their home; the opposite page has the recipe laid out, step by step, with all the ingredients listed.¬†Pie for Breakfast is recipe book within a story, and it’s inclusive in every way: families are multicultural and diverse in every way. Families from different cultures enrich the bake sale with their own recipes, making for a rich bake sale menu. Important tips for baking are in the back matter, including making sure an adult is there to oversee and help out. The artwork is cheerful and colorful, and the endpapers lay out the feast that awaits within the book. What a fun book!