Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sleep Tight Garden Residents

Several weeks ago, marked the arrival of two boxes of materials to construct raised-garden beds.  Yesterday an order for twenty bags of soil was sent.  Packets of seeds are waiting for the right combination of warmth and water for planting.  Centuries of practice dictate it will soon be time for personal, community and large-scale gardeners, farmers, to begin their work.

Gardening is a partnership between humans and Mother Nature involving hard work and respect.  Goodnight, Veggies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 10, 2020) written by Diane Murray with illustrations by Zachariah OHora is a lovely, loving lullaby to edibles and their efforts.  From beginning to end, readers will feel their appreciation for produce expanding as each word and image fashions a comforting, cheerful harmony.

Sunset in the garden.

Robins watch from a nest as a sole gardener tends to a community garden.  One by one the individual vegetables are visited and observed as evening descends.  Below the dirt turnips and potatoes get ready to rest.

Tomatoes, eyes closing in fatigue, quietly murmur a melody.  Cocooned in leaves, cauliflowers snuggle as nearby neighbors sag with weariness.  Storytime begins in the rhubarb patch as broccoli and baby plants listen.

Teeny, tiny eggplants, new to the world, dream dreams of travel.  Where will they go?  Other scrumptious roots relax.  Cabbage, celery and corn are eager to doze.  (Some need to sleep more than others.)

As moonlight shimmers and stars sparkle, the vegetables cozy in their beds slumber.  If we happen to tiptoe past, we will see why this pause has purpose.  Can you surmise?

This lilting bedtime poem written by Diana Murray is certain to soothe readers of all ages.  The use of descriptive alliteration and rhyming words at phrase endings is certain to have you humming if not singing a song softly aloud.  The array of vegetables will have you reaching for the nearest seed catalog as soon as possible.  Here is a passage.

Turnips tucked in tightly.
Potatoes closing eyes.

Tuckered-out tomatoes
humming lullabies.

When you open the dust jacket the cross-section of vegetables in repose spreads over the spine to the back edge.  Another sleeping turnip and dozing carrot are featured on the back.  The smiling, dapper worm wearing a cap and single shoe on the front is a showcased extra in the garden throughout the book.  The color palette is eye-catching and engaging.

On a white canvas a variety of veggies are highlighted on the book case.  From the back to the front thirteen are shown, smiling.  Each one is labeled.  On the front the worm stands in the lower, right-hand corner.  By him words read:

What will
you grow in 

A bright, cross-hatched design in turquoise covers the opening and closing endpapers.  On the title page in a charming display, the worm is reclining on a striped sun lounger underneath a trio of poles entwined in vines of peas.  Each image is rendered

with 100% vegetarian printmaking and acrylic paint.

Each double-page picture is an illustrative, interpretive joy.  Illustrator Zachariah OHora presents shifting perspectives, as well as, combining different points of view in a single visual.  In the first scene we see an adult and child sitting on steps on the street below as the sun sets.  As our eyes move to the right, solar panels on a roof capture heat as a woman waters plants in the rooftop garden.  Alongside the building is a large tree, home to a robin's nest.  In the next image we zoom closer to the tree, as our worm adventurer and guide hops from the tree to the garden.  We continually move closer and closer to the vegetables.

The vegetables are happily winding down a day of growing with smiles and drowsy eyes.  Rocks and roots are shown underground as a tiny yellow butterfly flutters above them.  Bees are busy as tiny blossoms bloom.  The final illustration of the worm in his home is priceless.  The matte-finished paper is perfect for these pictures by providing and increasing texture.

One of my many, many favorite illustrations is of the cauliflowers and peas.  The bottom half of the picture is a look at the ground below the surface.  The pathway of the worm cuts through the dirt across and up as he pops out for a look at the peas on the right.  Roots of the cauliflowers on the left and peas on the right stretch down.  A larger cauliflower embraces a smaller one with a curled leaf.  Two bees fly from the cauliflowers.  The peas in their pods hang down from a tripod made of sturdy sticks.

In spreading a sense of calm to readers Goodnight, Veggies written by Diana Murray with illustrations by Zachariah OHora, we also take a delicious, delightful journey through a garden.  This book is an excellent addition to the bedtime collection of books and is certain to inspire gardening.  I highly recommend it for your personal and professional collections. 

You might want to include this title with Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, Just Because, Sleep Train, Good Day, Good Night, The Perfect Siesta, All ears, all eyes, It Is Not Time For Sleeping: (A Bedtime Story), The Moon's Almost Here, Goodnight Everyone, or Cricket Song. You might like to use books contained in Sweet Dreams Picture Book August 10 for 10.  Hoping you will all maintain a sense of peace.

To learn more about Diana Murray and Zachariah OHora, please follow the links attached to their names to access their respective websites.  Diana Murray has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  Zachariah OHora has accounts on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.

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