Bookshelf: Gardens in Art, Literature & Other Writings:

A Gardener’s Alphabet
Reviewed by Helen MacPherson

An absolutely delightful and educational children’s hard-cover picture book that can be read and enjoyed by young children and adults alike. The hand-tinted woodcuts of award winning Vermont artist and gardener, Mary Azarian, are a feast for the eyes, the garden fairly jumps off the page. There is only a scant amount of text, with one word per page, which allows the pictures to speak for themselves and opens up countless opportunities for discussion and learning. With a blend of whimsy, humour, warmth, and energy, Azarian captivates the reader and makes the garden a place of magic and wonder.

The garden is of course a place of work and frustration at times and the author depicts that very well when she uses the word Nibble on the N page for instance and shows rabbits, raccoons, and deer making short work of a vegetable garden. A broad range of gardening concepts are shown as we roam through the various gardens in A Gardener’s Alphabet. There is a page devoted to composting for instance, one to xeriscaping and one to greenhouses.

One of the most endearing aspects of the book is its depiction of the garden as a people place; a place where families and friends, both young and old play, work and rest in harmony with nature.


Author : Mary Azarian
ISBN : 0-618-03380-7
Publisher : Houghton Miffin Company

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