Author/Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher: Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 3 to 8 years
Themes/topics: gardening, flowers, creating beauty, sharing beauty, reclaiming vacant lots, patience, making do with what you have, cooperation, faith.
Opening Sentences: Rose was a dreamer. An adventurer. She explored the world in her fantastic teapot. Rose collected seeds from each place she visited to remember it by.
Synopsis: Rose travels all over the world collecting seeds in her teapot boat, then when the boat is so laden it cannot hold any more, she looks for a place to plant her garden. In a city near the sea, she explores and finds a vacant lot that needs some love and some color – but when she gets back to her teapot, birds have eaten nearly all her seeds!
She refuses to give up hope, so takes the few remaining seeds and plants them in the hard, unyielding soil of the vacant lot. Then she waits, and waits, through harsh and heavy spring rains, unrelenting summer heat, even through the snow of winter. It takes something almost magical – the kind of magic that comes from the heart – to get her garden to bloom…
Rose’s Garden was inspired by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was part of the drive to create the network of parks through Boston now known as The Rose Kennedy Greenway.
There is a message from the late Senator Ted Kennedy on the back of the book’s dust cover that reads in part: “Peter H. Reynolds poignantly captures my mother’s enduring spirit in Rose’s Garden. May this powerful story and my mother’s beautiful greenway plant fresh seeds of hope and service for generations to come.”
Activities/Resources: One activity for this book would be to plant some flowers and watch their growth cycle, either in a garden plot, or in a plant pot.
Kids could make paper flowers, then share them with others – perhaps seniors in nursing homes. This link found at freekidscrafts.com leads to many different paper flower craft projects.
Learn about The Rose Kennedy Greenway here.
A wonderful animated “Telefable” based on Rose’s Garden is available to read on the Rose Kennedy Greenway website. Be patient, it takes a few seconds to download, but it’s worth it!
See if your own community has beautification projects that kids can get involved in.
Availability: Readily available in hardcover.
Support Peter H. Reynolds’ own bookstore by buying it online from The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, MA (or find it at your local independent bookseller.)
Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”