The Art Garden by Penny Harrison

The Art Garden

Penny Harrison, Author

Penelope Pratley, Illustrator

EK Books, Fiction, Feb. 6, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 4-7

Themes: Art, Creativity, Individuality, Self-acceptance, Friendship

Opening: More than anything, Sadie wanted to be an artist.

Synopsis: Sadie wants to be a painter, just like her best friend, Tom. She loves playing with color and finding shapes in unlikely places. But whenever Sadie picks up a paintbrush she makes a big mess. She spends her time working in the garden or playing with Tom, but, one day, Sadie gets a look at things from a different perspective–and makes a big discovery about herself and her own creativity.

What I like about this book:

Penny Harrison has written a playful story about a girl who wants to be an artist like her best friend.  Sadie’s fingers are very nimble at playing with color in baking and decorating cupcakes, arranging flowers, exploring patterns in nature, and planting flowers in pots. So why can’t she draw like Tom? The harder this determined protagonist tries to paint, she creates even bigger messes. Discouraged, she climbs to the top of a tree.  She stares down at a garden beneath her and sees something she hasn’t seen before. Sadie realizes that if she can’t draw her dreams there are many other ways to express herself.

The language is simple and lyrical. The pacing will keep readers in suspense. Prately’s colorful watercolor illustrations are lively and encourage readers to see the world through Sadie’s eyes. Make sure you check out the endpapers.

Resources: This book is an excellent read-aloud in the classroom. Teachers can encourage kids to name the many ways they enjoy expressing their creativity like baking, sewing beautiful clothing, planting beautiful gardens, trimming topiary bushes, knitting blankets, carving wooden figures, making pottery, designing buildings, birdwatching, quilting, music and dance. Children will enjoy sharing their ideas as they realize art is individual and all around them.

Penny Harrison is a children’s author, book reviewer, garden writer and lifestyle journalist. A professional writer for more than 20 years, she has contributed to a range of magazines, newspaper, and books, writing about everything from raising toddlers to raising chickens.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

25 thoughts on “The Art Garden by Penny Harrison

  1. You can find me in the garden, too. 🙂 I like that it your choice encourages art and creativity, and it sounds like it kids will learn to lighten up about what they’re “supposed to” do, too.

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  2. Patricia, I love this premise. And I think it is very important for kids to realize that art and beauty can be created in so many ways. Thanks for highlighting this book, I hadn’t seen it yet.

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  3. I spent the morning filling containers with colorful flowers for our new terrace. This book resonates as I grew up in a family of artists, always thinking I wasn’t creative, until I discovered my passion for gardening. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

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  4. What a lovely creative story. I love pottering in the garden. (Ours is ready for winter veges now) The gorgeous cover is so fresh and joyful. Must look out for it down our way. Thanks for sharing Pat.

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    • Spring is finally here. We went from the 50s to the 80s. Everything pollinating at once. Now you enter fall and winter. But, it doesn’t really get that cold does it? Never heard of winter vegetables. Like, pumpkins, squash?

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  5. This sounds like an absolutely delightful book, Patricia. Thank you so much for sharing. Creativity has many faces. We just need to find the one that looks like us. 🙂

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