cover image Planting the Wild Garden

Planting the Wild Garden

Kathryn O. Galbraith, illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin, Peachtree, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-563-8

Most children know that domestic seeds are sown and cultivated by farmers, but how do wild plants grow and spread? In lighthearted prose punctuated with sound effects ("Per-chik-o-ree! Per-chik-o-ree!" cries a goldfinch) and enlivened with typographic curves and swoops, Galbraith (Arbor Day Square) explains that seeds from wild plants float in the wind, snap off plants, fall in the rain, and get carried—intentionally or unintentionally—by animals to new places where they sprout and thrive. "A family of raccoons feasts on blackberries.... When they amble home again, bits of berries and seeds go with them. Next spring, new prickly canes will pop up everywhere." Halperin's (My Father Is Taller Than a Tree) spreads are divided into contiguous panels tinted in the lightest of watercolors, with delicate pencil shading that conveys the force of wind and rain alike. Small natural dramas are writ large as she shows plants and seeds in tender closeups, the small panels complementing sweeping landscapes watered with rain, sparkling with stars, or glowing in the sunset—sometimes all at once. It's a thoroughly handsome book, suffused with calm. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)