A Garden for Children

Elisabeth Luard, Illustrator, Felicity Bryan, Author Viking Penguin $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7181-2580-6
This is a volume that deftly plants the magical alongside the educational and sensible. Drawing on her experience as a gardening writer and mother of two, Bryan has crafted an excellent guide for parents who want to introduce their children to gardening. She offers suggestions on designing a children's garden, answers to questions that children are bound to ask (""Why do we water plants?''), advice on safety in the garden and indoor gardening experiments. Throughout, there are delightful references to children's stories about gardens, from the tale of Oscar Wilde's Selfish Giant (when he banned children from his garden, none of the flowers would grow) to the familiar Peter Rabbit (who coveted Mr. McGregor's vegetables). In writing about how a child is excited by a garden's growth, Bryan awakens similar emotions in the adult reader, and she admits that watching the honeysuckle and roses climb the trellis of the ``secret'' garden in her London home makes her ``feel like a child again. And that, perhaps, is the secret of why we like to garden.'' Illustrated with lovely watercolors and black-and-white drawings, the book's only drawback is a surfeit of Briticisms. (November 5)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
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