Philippa Riste looks at two books which focus on what children can do in gardens.
Kids in the Garden is a lovely gift for children or a useful addition for a teacher in charge of a school garden; this is a fantastic book for kids aged 6 and above, from which even experienced adult gardeners can learn a thing or two! The ratio of photos and illustrations to clear and simple text makes the book accessible and appealing, and the section at the beginning of the book on how plants work is perfectly pitched for a young reader. The introduction also contains some brilliant eco-friendly suggestions for natural fertilisers – including your own hair and stinky nettle soup – and types of mulch, and is followed by step-by-step fun guides on how to grow and care for different vegetables and fruit, and then by child friendly recipes using what has been grown. The book is punctuated with jokes, quiz questions, and interesting facts and is, overall, a brilliant introduction to food production and plant science. A brilliant find!
Gardening Projects for Kids is a book full of planting and gardening ideas to suit children aged between 5 and 12. The layout and font size as well as the plentiful photographs are designed to capture the attention of children themselves. The short introduction includes information on soil, tools and safety in the garden, and the remainder of the book comprises over 60 fun and innovative projects, from planting a chocolate scented garden and growing tomatoes or strawberries in hanging baskets – ideal for a school with limited space – to craft ideas like making a bird hide from a cardboard box or a feeder with red ribbons to attract butterflies. A useful book for parents or early years teachers to use with younger children, or for older children to experiment with on their own.
Kids in the Garden Elizabeth McCorquodale; ISBN: 978-1906155926; Black Dog Publishing, 2010; pp 95; £9.95
Gardening Projects for Kids Jenny Hendy; ISBN: 978-1-78019-019-8; Southwater, 2011; pp 128; £8.99