In a previous post on theme gardens for children, I promised to dig up (ugh!) some relevant books. I finally got a chance to put them together.
Here are two of our favorite gardening books:
Jack's Garden by Henry Cole
This lovely book is a retelling of the nursery rhyme “This is the House that Jack Built,” using a gardening theme. It starts with tools a gardener would use, then critters you would find in the soil, all the way to a mature garden with birds and butterflies. Even though it is a picture book with few words, the illustrations are so rich it can be used with almost any age. Wonderful book!
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson, Shmuel Thaler (Photographer)
When I lent this one to someone and never got it back, I knew I had to go out and buy another copy. This book is really one of a kind. The photographs are exceptional. (Although they do have a flower fly identified as a honey bee. This is a common mistake.) The website has good information, too.
(If you are in the mood for more books about apples and pumpkins for fall, check this list of fall-inspired books from the MissRumphiusEffect Blog.)
Books on Theme Gardening with Children by Categories
1. ABC Gardens:
Garden Books with Alphabet Themes
A Cottage Garden Alphabet by Andrea Wisnewski
Centered on a garden, the book goes through the alphabet: A is represented by an arbor; C is a cottage; I is iris; Z is zucchini. The pictures, which look like woodcuts, are actually hand-colored paper cuts and the author discusses how she makes them.
Alphabet Garden by Laura Jane Coats
A Gardener's Alphabet by Mary Azarian
Patty's Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat
Follow the progress of a pumpkin patch through the seasons while finding items from the alphabet. For example, in the field where the pumpkins are being planted, “a” is for ant and “b” is for beetle.
2. Rainbow Gardens:
Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes by Rosalind Creasy, Ruth Heller (Illustrator)
If you are interested in planting a rainbow garden this book could be a helpful resource. Ruth Heller is definitely one of our favorite authors and illustrators.
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
This beautiful book lists many flowers of different colors.
3. Animal Gardens
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
I already mentioned this one in the butterfly/moth book post, but it is definitely worth mentioning again here. This is a lovely book, full of good information.
Bird and Wildlife Garden Books for Adults
The Bird-Lover's Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Songbirds and Hummingbirds by Margaret MacAvoy, and Pat Kite
The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher: Birdfeeders and Bird Gardens by Robert Burton and Stephen Kress
The Wildlife Gardener's Guide (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide) by Janet Marinelli, Steve Buchanan (Illustrator)
4. Food Themes
Grow Your Own Pizza: Gardening Plans and Recipes for Kids by Constance Hardesty, Jeff McClung (Illustrator)
The title says it all for this fun book.
Gardening with Children by Beth Richardson
Tells how to grow a pizza garden, among other things.
5. Story Books
Linnea in Monet's Garden by Cristina Bjork, Lena Anderson (Illustrator), Joan Sandin (Translator)
If you are interested in art, artists, Monet, nature, gardening or traveling to Paris, this is the book for you. Definitely inspires me to want to grow a “Monet Garden” of my own. Beautiful, sweet, and informative, I keep our copy with the art books, but it wants to be with the nature and gardening books, too.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Tasha Tudor (Illustrator)
Corn Is Maize by Aliki
This book is part of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. It has a wealth of information about many aspects of corn, including how it was first domesticated by Native Americans.
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians by Gilbert L. Wilson
Amazon review (edited): This book is rich with useful gardening lore, including tools and structures, and detailed descriptions of the different kinds of beans, corn, and squash that the Indians grew. Plus, there are native recipes you can try. Okay, I put this on the list so I will remember to get it ☺
Sunflower House (Books for Young Readers) by Eve Bunting (Author), Kathryn Hewitt (Illustrator)
A young boy plants the seeds in a large circle to grow a sunflower house. When the plants are tall enough, he invites his friends over to play in it. The text is written in rhyme.
Adult nonfiction books for gardening with children:
Gardening Wizardry for Kids by L. Patricia Kite and Yvette Santiago Banek
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
This is the classic book on gardening with children. As you can tell from the title, Lovejoy has many fun and creative ideas about gardening.
A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children by Molly Dannenmaier
The hardcover copy I have says “Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents.” Enchanting is the right word. Mixed with informative text about how children play and how important it is for them to play outdoors, are photos of fairytale settings for children to play in. On pages 158-159 is a photo and list of the plants in the George Washington River farm alphabet garden.