cover image The Green Truck Garden Giveaway: A Neighborhood Story and Almanac

The Green Truck Garden Giveaway: A Neighborhood Story and Almanac

Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Four Winds, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80498-4

Martin (Grandmother Bryant's Pocket) is on familiar, green territory in this environment-friendly neighborhood story. One Saturday morning, a truck rolls down a quiet street and incites a small revolution among unsuspecting residents. The people in the truck offer free soil and seed gardens, as well as ""Green Truck Almanacs"" brimming with ""vegetable stories"" and gardening hints. The green warriors cajole three recalcitrant neighbors into accepting rudimentary gardens in buckets and wooden frames. The result is a flowering community. Colorful blooms inspire yard clean-ups; overflowing lettuce leads to neighborly sharing; the grouch who wanted only thornbushes discovers raspberries and bakes a batch of muffins. Gilman's (Toad or Frog, Swamp or Bog?) mix of watercolor and colored pencil brightens from dingy blues and reds into a happy range of yellowy greens as the story progresses. The almanac pages have an old-fashioned botanical quality that contrasts lightly with the broad gestures and smiling faces of the characters, who are depicted in an edgy mix of retro settings, contemporary dress and freeze-frame-like postures. Illustrated snippets from the almanac weave through the story, including a Pueblo prayer for rain, recipes, instructions for planting bucket gardens and tidbits of horticultural history. The enthusiastic narration and lively, varied layout will prompt black and green thumbs alike to plant small and reap big. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)