David Bouchard, Author, Dave Bouchard, Author, Zhong-Yang Huang, Illustrator , illus. by Zhong-Yang Huang. Raincoast $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55192-452-6

In Bouchard's (previously teamed with Huang for If You're Not From the Prairies) spare, eloquently told story, a young orphan finds enlightenment with the help of a blind monk. Unlike the elder monks who travel in search of enlightenment, the unnamed boy, whom the monks raise and care for but refuse to train, must remain at home, assigned the role of gardener. The blind monk who stations himself at the monastery door tells the boy, "Buddha is in the garden!" There, amongst the flowering trees, the boy experiences prophetic visions of the mother who left him at the temple gate. With the help of his blind companion, the young gardener realizes that he is finding enlightenment in the very environment he tends. A sense of peace and tranquility washes over the boy's face and physique in Huang's serene landscapes. The artist spent time at a Buddhist monastery in preparation for the story, and his bleached watercolors convey the feel of the arid air of the Asian mountains, lingering on the rough robes of the monks and their weathered skin. Of as much interest to adults as it will be to thoughtful children, the tale promises that enlightenment is waiting for any who wish to seek it—right there in our own gardens. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/29/2001
Release date: 05/01/2002
Genre: Children's
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