I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes is a miracle of a picture book. Its stunning lush, rough, almost jagged, illustrations paired with a simple, striking narrative holds an incredible power to focus its readers onto this single story and let the rest of the world fade away.
Incredibly, this book can take two rowdy, bouncy boys and their frazzled mother and make them all stop, breathe, and settle down, if only for the duration of the story.
The story is wonderfully simple: A very little gardener is watching his garden go to ruins. It isn’t his fault. He works very, very hard. He loves his garden, and he really does want it to succeed, but he’s just too little. It seems like his whole garden and life is falling apart, but then, miraculously a beautiful flower blooms in the middle of the garden. It gives him the hope and inspiration he needs to work even harder.
Alas, all of this hard work doesn’t help his garden, and failure looms near. He works until he no longer can. Exhausted, he makes a wish for someone to help and then he goes to sleep. While he’s asleep someone much bigger than him notices the one beautiful flower. This flower inspires them and makes them want to work hard. Soon, they and another are working hard in the garden while our little gardener sleeps. When he awakens, he finds that his garden has changed. Our little gardener has made his life, his garden’s life, and those that he’s never even met’s life better. It’s a profound metaphor and an important reminder of the effect we can have on other people’s lives without ever even knowing it.
The Little Gardener is such a simple tale of a young boy struggling to maintain what little he has that anyone who reads it can immediately understand him. We all know what it is like, no matter how much or little we have, to feel like what we’re doing just isn’t enough. To struggle and to need help but have no idea where to find it is universal. The uncertainty that the little gardener faces is so profound and ubiquitous that ever reader can immediately step into his shoes. Then because you see him struggle, too, you immediately start to root for him and if good things and good people can appear in his life, then surely there is hope in yours. This beautiful story asks you to stop and tend to your own gardens of hope.
Please take some time to read it. After reading this story, you’ll find that it comes to you when you are feeling lost and not sure how things will be able to turn around. It’ll serve as its own beautiful flower. A truly magical and affirming read.
Where to Get it:
Author and Illustrator Websites:
- Author and Illustrator: Emily Hughes
More Reviews of The Little Gardener
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”