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Summary: Erin is so excited about her dream: a garden full of wonderful vegetables. Real gardens take a lot of work and Erin's parents don't think she is ready for the task. After hearing Erin's story, Mr. Martinez volunteers to help her, and a garden is born. They work together, and Erin learns that gardening is more than just the fruit of your labors. This is a bilingual picture book about friendship, learning, and family.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Age of Child: Started reading with 5½-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: It took some cajoling to get our child to let us read in Spanish (it could be, in part, because it is fairly rusty!). Still, s/he liked the story and was captivated by the illustrations.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a refreshing story. The title left us a little wary, but that didn't last past the second or third page. The story is very inviting; the author did a great job of developing the relationship between Erin and Mr. Martinez without crowding out the story or getting overly detailed about them as individuals.
Pros: The book offers a wonderful story about friendship between generations, partnership, friendship, and the old-fashioned idea of having a garden. Everyone can enjoy this story.
Cons: The illustrations are a little too impressionistic for us (it was hard to see Erin's tears as anything but blur). Still, they are detailed and complement the story.
Borrow or Buy: This could go either way. It is DEFINITELY a borrow, even if you don't read Spanish. It will bring back memories of our own summer gardens ... and a simpler way of life.
Educational Themes: There are lots of things to do with this book ... not the least of which is plant your own garden. Erin and Mr. Martinez introduce the idea of valued partnerships across generations, so there may be neighbors you can get to know; family elders to interview (they most certainly have garden memories); or farmers markets to visit.