The Imperfect Garden

The Imperfect Garden

by Melissa Assaly
illustrated by April dela Noche Milne Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2019
ISBN 978-1-55455-408-9
$19.95 (hc) 36 pp, ages 4 – 10

Told from the point of view of a young child learning to garden, this through-the-seasons collection of lessons teach about sowing seeds, harvesting “imperfect” vegetables, sharing harvests, and finding joy in the “imperfect” vegetables offered for discount in the grocery store. This narrative balances the gentle lessons of a mom opening her child’s mind to nourishment from food that stretches beyond our culture being “used to the ones in the store” with the unhindered joy of a child finding “cucumbers growing on vines in all kinds of twirly-whirly shapes!”

Classroom Connections: The author’s note finishes the book with a powerful explanation of food waste and how to start small when planting with children. The text is rich with adjectives and could be used as a “listen and visualize” activity to increase children’s ability to connect and predict. Great for: teaching about food waste, encouraging environmental sustainability, engaging children in growing their own food, classroom library, descriptive writing. Reading Comprehension Strategies: Making Connections, Asking Questions, Making Predictions, Transforming.

Review by Amanda Forbes.

This review appears in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2020 Issue.

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