Real and imaginary elements overlap in a confusing mishmash in Waddell's (Good Job, Little Bear) tale of a girl who starts a garden in a cooking pot. When the seeds Mary plants sprout into tiny trees, she adds a piece of blue ribbon to serve as a stream and builds a bridge out of matchsticks, then paints flowers on the outside of the pot to create a ""hollyhock wall."" Next she shapes a clay figure whom she names Tom. That night, explains the author in overblown prose, ""somehow, some strange how, something strange happened....""--the first of several such refrains. Suddenly Mary finds herself within her lush garden, where Tom is now a living, breathing boy. The plot straddles reality and unreality as Tom returns to clay, then later becomes human once again--with no apparent logic--and Mary comes and goes from the garden. Mavor's (The Way Home) inventive and fetching fabric-relief art provides a more compelling juxtaposition of the actual and the fanciful. Her intricate tableaux of appliqu , embroidery and soft sculpture incorporate live flowers and greenery, miniature objects and pieces of lace and ribbon to create a startlingly convincing three-dimensional effect. Yet even the artwork fails to orient readers on this bewildering outing. Ages 4-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999 Release date: 06/01/1999 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.