"The Curious Garden" is just a beautiful book. It's a book that makes you smile more and more as you read it. So many beautifully illustrated books have ugly end pages but not this one. The end pages are part of the book, I love it. The colors used in the book follow the story. They are gray and become lighter and brighter as the plants grow and bloom. The light boy, Liam, also becomes brighter and cheerier as his plants grow greener and bloom. The illustrations do a great job of the telling story as you can see the book is not text heavy. Be sure to take time to see this one.
What a great story! The cover of this book drew me in right away, and I liked the nostalgic feel of the illustrations. I thought that one of the most important two-page illustrations had poor gutter placement (right through the center of the boy, if I'm remembering correctly). I also liked that there are wordless portions of the book where the illustrations really tell the story.
A lovely book which grabbed my attention from the cover till the end. The retro-feeling illustrations made it timeless and dreamy as opposed to dated, and they really extended the story as the colors and slowly exploding greenery eventually charmed the whole town-- myself included.
I read "The Curious Garden" aloud to K-4th students a week ago and they were enchanted. We live in a suburb of NYC so I was able to connect the book with the High Line project there (the conversion of an abandoned railway line into an elevated walkway/park) - info. at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Line_(New_York_City)Here's the full storytime:Theme: "Anything is Possible" -- Bedminster 12/4/09 -- sharing a couple of brand-new books and a couple of new findsThe Curious Garden -- Brown (fable inspired by the Highline Park project in NYC -- reclaiming abandoned elevated train track c2009)Imagine -- Messenger (eye-boggling, mind-stretching pictures c2005) The Pink Refrigerator -- Egan (magical refrigerator spurs bored man to do more with his life c2007)Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again -- Hatkoff (true story of an injured dolphin who learns to swim with a prosthetic tail and the inspiration she provides for kids with disabilities c2009)(Also shared "Higher Higher"-- Patricelli & Princess Hyacinth : (the surprising tale of a girl who floated) -- Heide with some groups)
This book is magical! I second the comments above, especially Mandy's thoughts on the importance of the wordless pages that so expressive show Liam and the whole town becoming caring gardeners. The story and colors bloomed from beginning to end and made this tale so inspirational. The Curious Garden is one of my top Caldecott choices this year!