This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share a commission.
In The Gardener, Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows.
Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker.
There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers’ faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece, an ambitious rooftop garden, which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile.
Sarah Stewart introduces readers to an engaging and determined young heroine, whose story is told through letters written home, while David Small’s illustrations beautifully evoke the Depression-era setting.
The Gardener is a 1997 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book.
About the Author & Illustrator
Husband and wife duo Sarah Stewart and David Small have worked together on several picture books. They live in a historic home on a bend of the St. Joseph River in Michigan.
A Few Reviews:
“Late in the summer of 1935, Lydia Grace’s parents are out of work, and to help make ends meet they send Lydia Grace to live with Uncle Jim, a baker in the city…Told entirely through letters, the story radiates her utterly (and convincingly) sunny personality…[An] inspiring offering from creative collaborators.” ―Starred, Publishers Weekly
“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
“This was a lovely story about a girl who must leave her home to go to work in the city to help her family during the Great Depression. She is brave and sweet and instead of dwelling on her problems, she works throughout the story to bring the beauty of flowers to her uncle and his assistants. Her goal is to make her uncle smile–and though she doesn’t succeed, she realizes that he does love her and truly cares for her. A lovely tale–with perfect illustrations. I want more by this team!”
“A beautiful throwback to the kind of stories that reflect loneliness and love with gentleness and depth that are absent from most children’s stories. A little girl goes to live with her uncle during the Great Depression and turns her green thumb into a pathway to her uncles’s heart. This is a superb book.”