Girl exploring the garden
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In spring, to borrow a few poetic phrases from Alfred Lord Tennyson, a young person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of … kite flying, dirt digging, seed planting and other outdoor activities.

Time with our kids in parks and gardens or on trails reveals a world going green and getting busy. Seeds are sprouting, trees budding, robins hopping,  squirrels frisking.  It’s amazing to visit the same outdoor spot–be it backyard, city park or stretch of trail–and notice the changes.

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith (Peachtree, 2011, ages 4-10) takes a close, delighted look at this abundance.  How, exactly, do seeds scatter and grow in the wild? There’s the oooooo–whishhh of wind spinning seeds across the fields.  The splashing rain washes them to new places.  They cling to the coats of passersby–a rabbit and fox–and fall as these creatures move through the meadow.

Illustrator Wendy Anderson Halperin captures the dynamic quality of natural growth and change through her lively pencil-and-watercolor art.   To show detail as well as action, she uses a mix of  close-ups and larger scenes.  For example, on one double-page spread, there are several small pictures, including one of a cocklebur caught in a fox’s tail.  The largest picture on the page shows reynard slinking towards an alert rabbit.

Thanks to this playful, informative book, you and your kids will know how thistle,  yarrow and Queen Anne’s lace ended up enriching some of your favorite outdoor spots.

P.S. Spring activities are here! Get inspired for outdoor play-time.