cover image WHO IS IN THE GARDEN?


, WHO IS IN THE GARDEN? Vera Ro. , $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1529-8

Leafy, verdant watercolors conjure a child-size Eden in Rosenberry's (When Vera Was Sick) sprightly ramble of a picture book. Tucked behind a stone wall surrounding a thatched-roof cottage (the opening vista of an English country garden is sure to delight the heart of Anglophiles), a bouquet of natural delights awaits a young visitor, first seen flitting through the open gate. "Who is in the garden?" poses the text, as readers follow the boy on his circuit of discovery. From wrens that "weave their way, in and out, in and out" of birches to a garter snake concealed in a grape arbor and "wiggly pink worms squiggling all through the dirt," there's much to see and hear. The simple story line comes full circle in a final spread of the boy hiding in a bean vine teepee—surrounded by a sort of visual chorus composed of all the aforementioned flora and fauna—to become himself the mysterious "who" in the garden. Rosenberry offers both rhythm ("Listen for songs in the cosmos and thyme as honeybees hum to and fro from their hives") and texture ("chattering birds crack the crunchy, striped seeds"), while her artwork is informed by a naturalist's eye for detail. Delicate, precise brush strokes blend with an impressionist's appreciation of light to create a most welcoming retreat. Budding gardeners may be inspired to launch impromptu explorations of their own backyards. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)