Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Published by Holiday House

Summary:  The narrator describes how she and her two older siblings spent a summer helping Uncle John in his garden, a plot of dirt in the middle of the city’s projects.  Each one chose their own vegetables to plant: okra for the narrator, tomatoes and onions for her sister, and corn and lima beans for her brother.  Their mother told them they were growing succotash, which they loved.  As the summer went on, the garden grew, and even a big thunderstorm couldn’t stop it from flourishing.  Right before school started again, Uncle John had a big barbecue, with the best succotash ever to go along with the ribs and burgers.  Each family member got to take home a bag of vegetables, and Uncle John and the kids looked forward to working in the garden again next summer.  Includes an author’s note telling about her childhood inspiration for the story and a recipe for succotash.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A simple story that shows how a garden–or a person–can thrive in even the most unlikely setting.  As always, Frank Morrison’s illustrations are delightful and should be considered for some sort of award.

Cons:  I was sorry to learn in the author’s note that she never actually got to spend the whole summer helping her Uncle John.

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