By Laura Ennis, BK Story Voyager librarian
Grade Level: K-2 (for those 4-7 years)
“The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown is a magical story about the power of nature. Liam lives in a dreary city with no parks or green areas. When he comes across a door to an old unused railway line his curiosity prods him to open it. Liam sees wildflowers and plants that have grown on the empty railway tracks. He decides that this lonely garden needs a gardener and takes it upon himself to learn the tricks of the trade to help the garden grow. In his care, the garden expands along the whole railway line. During the winter Liam prepares for spring by getting together necessary ingredients: pruners, shovels, seeds, and plots for planting new gardens. When spring arrives Liam returns to tend the garden to discover that he has inspired other gardeners. This is a story about the dream of one curious boy, and how his vision changes his city.
The illustrations in Peter Brown’s “The Curious Garden” are vivid and detailed. The pictures in the story encourage Kindergarten–Second Grade groups to have lively conversations about the importance of nature. “The Curious Garden” is the perfect spring read as it may inspire new gardens and perhaps a visit to the High Line!
The High Line in the Chelsea area of Manhattan is the inspiration for “The Curious Garden”. The High Line was created from an abandoned railway line along 10th avenue. Since the railway closed in 1980, indigenous plants began to take root and grow free range along the railway, and in 1999 residents of Chelsea advocated for High Line’s preservation and its reuse as a public open space. Ten years later its first section opened to the public. Today there are three completed sections landscaped with a focus on native plants.