Emily Green’s Garden by Penny Harrison
Illustrated by Megan Forward
Published by New Frontier
Date: November 2018
Penny Harrison has a way with words that engage and transform readers into a greater understanding of how gardens can be used creatively, and Emily Green’s Garden is her best book yet.
Emily Green’s Garden is a beautiful example of a child opening adult’s eyes to curiosity, newness and using their imagination. The contrast of their very perfect beginnings to letting go creatively saw faces that beamed with an infectious joy and the community bustling on the streets, playing happily. Emily has to compromise in the book, but she is still able to nurture her new love of gardening and means more people are also able to enjoy it.
This book is about using what is around you to create something quite magical, and taking something small and turning it into something potentially messy but perfectly lovely. Emily Green’s Garden is also about how when you’re nurtured and loved you grow into something beautiful.
Megan Forward is a very talented artist and her illustrations are a real treasure. I have two favourite pictures in the book: when Emily is carrying her library books and when the neighbourhood is hanging about in the street playing games, watering plants and just being. It reminds me of my childhood when we did spend time communally in the street doing things just like this.
I really like that Megan has used muted colours that are reflective of gardens, with pops of red, yellow and blue throughout. The front cover very much invites you into the book, and the expression on Emily Green’s face is quite endearing.
Overall, Emily Green’s Garden sparked my imagination and has inspired me to put this on my Storytime session reading list. It is heartwarming to see a book that focus is a child enchanted by the garden in all the forms that it took. To know that children who get to read or hear this story will get to see that someone just like them can take a seedling and turn it into a beautiful oasis makes me thankful for authors like Penny.
Thank you, Penny and Megan, for a perfectly, wonderful book that will be sure to nurture the green thumbs of very small readers.
Thank you New Frontier Publishing for the opportunity to honestly read and review this book.