Line drawings and quiet colors by Dubuc (Otto and Pio) show this story’s garden setting in cross-section—part aboveground, part below. Mr. Gnome and a small insect-like being named Jack live on the surface, while a mole named Yvonne and her field mouse neighbors live in the soil underneath (Dubuc’s views of their cozy dwellings are one of the story’s draws). An earthworm and an ant colony live underground, too, tunneling to and fro. Trouble begins when a seed bonks Jack on the head, lands on the ground, and begins to grow. Leaves emerge and roots spread, then burst through the ceiling of Yvonne’s bathroom and the mouse family’s burrow, forcing one to abandon her ablutions and the others to move house. “The plant was wreaking havoc all through the garden,” and the ants become exhausted from avoiding roots. Should the group cut its adversary down and restore order? Lowly Jack draws attention to the plant’s gifts—welcome shade and delicious tomatoes—and the community chooses to accommodate it. While it’s a less subtle tale than some of Dubuc’s sprightlier works, it presents in simple language (and a serviceable unattributed translation) a view of the interconnectedness of the natural world, and of cooperation in a peaceful community. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/30/2019 Release date: 09/03/2019 Genre: Children's
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