cover image In My Garden

In My Garden

Charlotte Zolotow, illus. by Philip Stead. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4320-8

Stead (Music for Mister Moon) takes this seasonal poem, first published in 1960 by the late writer and editor Zolotow, and divides its lines between two speakers. One, an older woman in a red raincoat and loose braid, treasures the seasons through her garden. “In the spring what I love best in my garden are the birds building nests.” She also likes “red tulips... violets and hyacinths and daffodils,” yet she returns, loyally, to the birds: “But in the spring what I love best... are the birds building nests.” The other, a child wearing a yellow slicker and red boots, marks the seasons with play: “In the spring what I love most to do is fly kites.” Other activities call, but kites are her favorite. Zolotow’s pleasing list of bests continues through summer, fall, and winter. In loose, pale washes and warm, organic lines, Stead renders a garden that isn’t particularly elegant or manicured—there’s a stone wall, a tree with a swing, an abandoned car and tire planters, a pond to skate on. Small creatures come and go. It’s an intergenerational look at companionable contentment derived from the simplest things, anchored in the natural world. Ages 3–6. [em]Author’s estate: Edite Kroll, Edite Kroll Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Mgmt. (Mar.) [/em]