In Our Backyard Garden
Eileen Spinelli & Marcy Ramsey
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
n Our Backyard Garden
is full of free verse accounts of an extended family's backyard experiences through the seasons, from planting a tree in honor of a new baby to a family picnic, a perfect fall day, raking leaves and Halloween, the first snowfall, Christmas, spring, and a family wedding. It ends with an outdoor bedtime lullaby. Marcy Ramsey's illustrations bring the family to life, from new baby to the little girl's beloved Granddad.
enjoy the touches of humor, such as '
' at the picnic, since Aunt Sissy and Aunt Lois '
had a falling out
' over a spilled beet. The serpentine catalyst to Aunt Sissy's romance is also funny. Lines like '
I want to hug the fading golden light. / I do not want this perfect day to end
' bring back the embracing magic and contentment of family time. And I love the relationship between child and Granddad, both unafraid to look silly encouraging a growing pumpkin, '
"Way to go, Jack!" / 'Way to grow, Jack!"
', and sharing their joy in the outdoors.
t's a heartwarming picture book, full of love and laughter, and showing a family in all its seasons and squabbles, from a child's point of view. At the end, the small girl tells us '
Here, in my backyard garden / memories twinkle like stars. / I can easily / fill my pockets with them.
' Do read this one together; it will warm your hearts.
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