The Gardener: “I’ve tried to remember everything you taught me about beauty…”

The Gardener: by Sarah Stewart, Illustrated by David Small

We treasured books in the home I grew up in, and that tradition lives on in my home today.  One of the greatest joys when my boys were young was the time we spent snuggling and reading.  We punctuated our weeks with trips to the library, weekly storytelling at our local Barnes and Noble and the occasional author reading at the eclectic, one-of-a-kind Hicklebee’s children’s book store in Willow Glen.  I can say without exaggeration that I’ve read thousands of pages of kid lit: the good, the great and the regrettable.

From those piles of books, emerged one of  my all-time favorites: The Gardener by Sarah Stewart.

I remember the day I pulled it off the shelf, delighted to find a beautifully illustrated book that wasn’t about trains or bunnies.  I stood skimming it, then sat down on the floor so I could give it my full attention. I knew I was holding something special.  My little one was enjoying his own book selection, so I was free to savor every page. What I found was an incredibly moving, poignant, and hopeful book with joy on every page.  The illustrations, by award-winning artist David Small are lovingly rendered with charming details tucked into the corners of each page.  This review sums it up beautifully:

“A moving, wonderfully rich illustrated story. It is that rarity, a pictorial delight that in 20 double pages gives more and more of itself each time it’s read, and whose silent complexities reveal themselves with continuing pleasure.” —The New York Times Book Review

You needn’t be a child or a gardener to appreciate this gem.  Go flop down on some cushions somewhere and give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.

4 thoughts on “The Gardener: “I’ve tried to remember everything you taught me about beauty…”

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