Review of All That Grows

All That Grows All That Grows
by Jack Wong; illus. by the author
Primary    Groundwood    32 pp.
3/24    9781773068121    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781773068138    $16.99

Nature walks and gardening result in an introspective child thinking small (and big) thoughts about the natural world in this quiet, poetic account, effectively told in the first person. The narrator’s sister, experienced and knowledgeable about many things leafy and blossoming, makes grand statements about the plants and flowers they encounter. “Magnolias smell like lemon cake,” she announces, causing her sibling self-doubt because “they just smell like flowers to me.” Her confident observations about quince trees, dandelions, and maple saplings have the narrator wondering how she knows so much, while our protagonist cannot grasp the complexities of goutweed or even name the big tree outside the window. Wong deftly plays with perspective throughout, often showing the children from overhead as they walk through the woods or pull weeds in the garden. Heavy on greens, his pastel paintings have a serene, hazy feel, evoking the season of spring. One striking sequence shows the child lying in bed at night, looking with curiosity out the window at the sparkling stars in the sky. Wong brings the action to a satisfying close when the child finds a plant that even confounds the older sister. They will look it up in one of her books, after they tend to the garden. This book emerges as both a celebration of nature and of a loving sibling bond.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
Brian E. Wilson works as a children’s librarian at the Evanston Public Library in Evanston, IL. He served on the 2015 Odyssey Committee and the 2017 Caldecott Committee. He blogs at Mr. Brian’s Picture Book Picks at

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