Book Review: Susan Olcott
A great new book just came out…Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal. If you have not seen this book yet we highly recommend it!
Topics – Gardening, spring, seasons, insects
Summary – Following on the theme of Over and Under the Snow, one of my favorite winter books, the same illustrator/author pair have written a lovely book about the secret happenings under the dirt as spring emerges. I love the idea of what you see and what you don’t see and encouraging kids to use their imagination to think of the busy world that exists underground filled with bugs and worms that all make the vibrance above possible. Reading this after planting our spring garden was perfect in encouraging patience in waiting for seeds to sprout and wondering what is happening to make them grow. Spring continues into the fall when things become quiet and dormant again and the natural world prepares for winter’s rest, which gives the book a nice seasonal progression. At the end, there is a great section at the end of the book that gives extra information on the animals that are part of the story.
As a little girl and her nana plant, tend, and harvest their vegetable garden, they discover that the world in the dirt is just as busy as the world above. While they water the garden, eat fresh green beans, and read under the sunflowers, down beneath the leaves, pill bugs chew, a tomato hornworm rests, and skunks work the night shift gobbling cutworms. This nonfiction title ends with information about the various animals found in gardens.
Complimentary Outdoor Activities:
-Plant a garden and watch and wait for seedlings to emerge.
-Have a sprouting race by planting the same seeds indoors and out and seeing which ones emerge first – you might be surprised!
-Dig in the dirt outside and see what bugs you find.
For more activities related to this book check out this blog…Chronicle books blog
Suggested Ages: This is a wonderful book for all ages due to the great illustrations-it has very few words per page so a great book to use with preschoolers on up!
Nature Families rates this book 5 out of 5 Acorns! Check it out of your local library or add it to your own library–click here to purchase from Amazon-Up in the Garden Down in the Dirt!