The Imaginary Garden Hardcover – Mar 1 2009
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Quill & Quire
The intense sensory pleasure of a grandparent’s garden is among many people’s earliest memories. And the loss of a garden, like Eden, is one of the most powerful human stories. Nonetheless, grandparents often have to move into apartments, the garden gets left behind, and what are we to do? Poppa and his granddaughter Theo come up with an excellent solution in this engaging picture book by Toronto author Andrew Larsen, aided by the exuberant pictures of fellow Torontonian Irene Luxbacher. Leaving the tree-and-flower-filled garden of his old house for an apartment balcony that is too windy for flowers, and rejecting the notion of plastic flowers, Poppa is bereft – at least until Theo’s suggestion of an imaginary garden gives him an idea. On a large piece of canvas set out on the balcony, he and Theo paint a lovely garden, with wall, soil, vines, birds, bulbs, and plants that change with the seasons. At first, Theo works under Poppa’s tutelage, learning to mix paints and add the garden elements, but when he goes away and leaves her in charge, she manages to move the plants into the next season, and to paint in a couple of wooden chairs so she and Poppa can eventually – in their imagination, at least – sit and enjoy their handiwork. The Imaginary Garden affirms both a warm bond between grandparent and child and the transformative power of the creative imagination. The interaction between Poppa and Theo is skillfully sketched: Poppa can take an idea from Theo (after gently dismissing a couple of others) and build upon it, eventually giving her the tools to work her own magic. In the early pictures, the warm colours of their creations contrast with the black and white of the bare balcony, but their vitality soon spreads over the whole page as the garden blooms.
As fresh and vibrant as a spring bouquet, this joyous offering will delight children, particularly young artists, throughout the year.
... sweet and visually appealing ...
More than the gardening or even the flowers, the dance of imagination between grandfather and grandchild is sweetly filigreed across the pages.
The Imaginary Garden affirms both a warm bond between grandparent and child and the transformative power of the creative imagination.
Top Customer Reviews
Note: The publisher provided a review copy of The Imaginary Garden
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Poppa got out his drawing board, paints and brushes and the two of them pulled up their chairs and began drawing. When spring came, they were out on the balcony ready to begin. There was a huge canvas and paints that he bought for them. They were all dressed up with matching garden hats and ready to create their imaginary garden. "Let's put a stone wall at the back of the garden . . . the vines will need to hold onto something as they reach for the sun." They began to draw the garden wall and mixed some "green, some red and some blue" to make brown. The garden was growing, but Poppa had to go away for a while. Would Theo be able to manage the garden on her own?
This was a delightful tale of a special, loving relationship that a child has with her grandfather. The "imaginary" garden was an absolutely ingenious way that their gardening relationship could continue even though her grandfather was no longer in his country home and had to move to an apartment. Children will not only learn a bit about drawing things like flowers, but will also learn about how colors are mixed and how to draw a simple bird. The artwork is whimsical and the flower gardens are vibrant and alive with color. If you don't garden with a young child, you will enjoy this book, but if you do you will be thrilled!