Mishan’s Garden

James Vollbracht, illus. by Janet Brooke. Wisdom, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61429-112-1
Mishan lives in “The Village Above the White Clouds” in remotest China, where nothing grows and “no one belongs.” Taking to heart her father’s dream that, one day, a beautiful “garden of hopes and dreams” will flourish at their inn, Mishan plants seeds in the snow and tells the despondent, cynical villagers that they are like the loving, giving forces of nature. When selflessness and a sense of community finally prevail, Mishan’s garden blooms, and her fame spreads. Although Vollbracht’s heroine never becomes much more than a sweet-faced mouthpiece, the restrained storytelling is quietly compelling, and Brooke’s crisply inked watercolor portraits of village life and colorfully costumed characters are vivid enough to maintain the story’s momentum. This book is a significant revision of Her Father’s Garden (1996). Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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