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Gardening and outdoor discovery

It's Our GardenAncona, George It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden
Gr. K–3   48 pp. Candlewick

From spring planting to winterization, full-color photographs chronicle a year in the life of an elementary school garden in Santa Fe; students are shown composting soil, watering plants, and sampling the edible delights. While green is visually ubiquitous, the real star is the white space, which keeps each spread from becoming crowded. Ancona’s no-nonsense text is perfectly suited for newly independent readers. Websites. Bib.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Schools—Elementary schools; New Mexico; Seasons; Composts; Plants; Fruits and vegetables

berkes_what's in the gardenBerkes, Marianne What’s in the Garden?
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Dawn

Illustrated by Cris Arbo. Careful, realistic illustrations in this guessing book show a fruit or vegetable growing in a garden; a page turn shows each being harvested, prepared, or eaten by a child. The adequate rhyming text hints at each plant’s identity, and the reveal includes a related recipe. Additional information on produce, plant parts, and cooking terms are appended. Reading list, websites.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Cookery; Fruits and vegetables; Plants; Stories in rhyme

burns_citizen scientistsBurns, Loree Griffin Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
Gr. 4–6    
80 pp. Holt

Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Burns brings much-deserved attention to four remarkable scientific projects that enlist regular people in data collection: the Monarch Watch butterfly tagging project, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a project documenting ladybug species, and a frog study. Detailed accounts of the procedures along with the handsome color photography make the idea of participation highly appealing. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Animals—Butterflies; Animals—Birds; Animals—Frogs; Animals—Ladybugs

lanz_lettuceLanz, Helen Lettuce
Gr. 4–6   32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Potatoes
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Strawberries
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Tomatoes
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Grow Your Own series. With plenty of color photos of kids demonstrating the step-by-step instructions, these guides for beginners make gardening seem approachable and enjoyable. The easy-to-read text describes planting, care, and harvesting, as well as how to spot and solve problems such as pests and disease, over- or under-watering, and frost danger. Each book ends with a gardening calendar and related recipe. Websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Fruits and vegetables; Fruits and vegetables—Potatoes; Fruits and vegetables—Tomatoes; Plants

root_plant a pocket of prairieRoot, Phyllis Plant a Pocket of Prairie
Gr. K–3   40 pp. Minnesota

Illustrated by Betsy Bowen. There isn’t much prairie left in the U.S., thanks to human farming and development. Readers are encouraged to reverse this trend by planting native plants in their own backyards, and watching what animals are attracted by each plant species. Mixed-media illustrations are placed on white backgrounds, their chunky outlines a modern twist on botanical illustration. The conservation and restoration message is universal.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Prairies; Plants; Animals; Environment—Ecology; Environment—Conservation; Minnesota

From the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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