Not being a father makes it difficult to give this book a truly objective review. This troubled me somewhat, especially as I now generate the majority of my tiny income from writing and know how useful a review can be. So, to do it justice I tried to think back across the decades, back to when I was a child. I used to like the Mr Men, and love Dr. Seuss but I could not remember liking gardening books. I was interested in the outdoors and gardening, but back then books were aimed firmly at adults. Or at least I never came across a gardening book aimed at me.
I have often wondered about writing a book that is both for adults and children, thinking that it would be very useful. Essentially this is what Kids in the Garden is trying to do. The big question is, does it work? There are jokes throughout, some of which I even found funny – “What’s a ghosts favourite berry? Goo-berries”. Ok, perhaps I don’t have the best sense of humour. Perhaps, instead I should focus on the little tit-bits of facts that pepper the book. These I liked and I learned something new. I found out that in India chilli peppers are hung over doors to ward off evil spirits and the fastest bean is the runner bean.
To say that this book is just full of dubious jokes and a few facts would be to give it a disservice. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was also full of good, sound advice. The usual suspects of plants are mentioned but what really stood out was that the advice and information was beyond what you would expect to find in a kids book, therefore managed to step away from the easy trap of being patronizing.
The book is not for the seasoned gardener, although they will learn something (I did). What I think it is, is the sort of book you buy for your sister, friend, or anyone else who has kids, a garden and commits the unforgivable crime of not growing anything. I think it will encourage children to engage with where their food comes from and afford them a healthier diet, which can’t be a bad thing. So, to answer my own question, yes it does work.
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