cover image My Day in the Garden

My Day in the Garden

Miela Ford. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15541-4

Undaunted by rain, four girls spend a day in a ""garden,"" thanks to their access to a room teeming with costumes. ""It's time/ to start/ the show,"" begins the text, spread out across three pages; three paintings, rendered in Lobel's (Alison's Zinnia) characteristically sunny style, present three girls in colorful slickers arriving for a play date, discovering the props and costumes and changing into blue morning-glory ensembles. Then comes hide-and-seek with a ""toad,"" ""flower counting"" (the girls, decked out as psychedelically winged butterflies, count the blooms in a patterned rug, paintings, tablecloth, etc.), ""berry-picking"" (two parents offer bowls of fruit to the girls, who are dressed as a mixed flock of birds) and so forth. The dress-up extravaganza lasts right up to bedtime, and then dreams extend the day's wonders. Ford's (Little Elephant) minimal text gives free reign to the illustrations' flower-power, the dense patterns and energy just barely contained within crisp white pages. Lush vine and rose wallpaper, curtains of billowing bowers and confetti-blossomed blankets are among the furnishings that amplify the slim story into a stimulating visual experience. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)