HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: What’s in the Garden?
Author: Marianne Berkes
Illustrator: Cris Arbo
Publisher: Dawn Publications, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-58469-189-1 (Hardback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58469-190-7 (Paperback)
Related websites: http://www.MarianneBerkes.com (author), http://www.dawnpub.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3-8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Berkes, Marianne. What’s in the Garden? (published in 2013 by Dawn Publications, 12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959). Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Oh, wait a minute, that’s a flower garden. We don’t eat silver bells, cockleshells, and pretty maids all in a row. But we do eat apples, celery, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Author Marianne Berkes, who has written several other books for Dawn Publications such as Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef and Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, tells kids about twelve different fruits and vegetables which can be grown in and around a garden. Did you know that lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable in the United States? The potato is number one. And wouldn’t you love to be chomping into an ear of fresh sweet corn on the cob like the boy on the cover? I surely would!
At each opening, there is a rhyming riddle that provides clues to help the reader guess what fruit or vegetable is under consideration. Then when the page is turned, there is the name of the fruit or vegetable, with a picture, drawn by illustrator Cris Arbo, and a kid-friendly recipe for using it. So What’s in the Garden? not only provides a lot of helpful scientific material but also serves as an introductory cookbook for students. The back of the book has further information about the fruits and vegetables mentioned, how to grow a garden, plant parts, and cooking. Many more free teaching and learning ideas are available at the publisher’s website. Children should know that good food begins not with a box on a store shelf but from a garden, and this book will help them understand how that happens.