Secret Garden: Earth Child
by Veronica Red

"I have found “my thing” that sparks the light within."

A beautiful morning opens this story of a young girl who sets out to begin planting a garden of flowers: frangipani, angelica, daisies, and lavender. Poetic descriptions of these lush flowering plants are accompanied by bright illustrations with vivid colors celebrating nature. Partly instructive, the narrative includes the tools needed for successful backyard planting and the steps taken to loosen and smooth the dirt and water the newly planted flowers. These details are provided with a soothing, gentle text, lyrical and inviting for children who appreciate nature and desire to grow a garden.

The natural world conveyed here is not the wild, untamed world of forests or jungles but rather the familiar ground of the backyard, a green space ripe for inviting birds and butterflies with flowering plants. This outdoor space depicted on each page is filled with the comforts of blue sky, green grass, delicate petals, gliding birds, and rainbows. The garden gives off a feeling of peace like a sanctuary with a touch of magic when fairies make an appearance, watching with glee as the flowers bloom and brighten.

This story of growing a backyard garden will resonate with aspiring gardeners who are comforted by nature. The title hints at the zodiac and children of the earth sign as does the book’s summary, but the book does not directly explore astrology or characteristics of the earth sign. The message is simply about the beauty we can find in our own backyards, and which we can create with our own capable hands. The lone blond-haired, blue-eyed young girl depicted of indeterminate age can serve as a role model for budding backyard naturalists.

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