Remember the nursery rhyme, Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? These books about gardening will encourage young gardeners to enjoy the fascinating process of plant life cycles, and the critters living in a garden.

Gary’s Garden by Gary Northfield, 2016, Scholastic, ages 7-10.

Gary’s garden is full of crazy creatures – a caterpillar who thinks he is a butterfly, a paranoid squirrel, a wise old spider, a ladybug professor, and potato chip-eating birds. The graphic book format includes a collection of short stories featuring the various critters and their hilarious garden stunts.

“Diana’s White House Garden” by Elisa Carbone, Illustrated by Jen Hill, 2016, Viking, ages 6-9.

To support the war effort, President Roosevelt asked Americans to plant victory gardens to feed the soldiers and the people of the United States. A young girl becomes known for her contributions by helping Eleanor Roosevelt plant a garden at the White House. Based on a true story, this book shares the charming story of Diana Hopkins’ time in the White House as a young girl whose father was an advisor to the president. Pencil sketches of the White House and soft colors depict the summer of 1943 in Washington D.C.

“The Night Gardener” by Terry Fan & Eric Fan, 2016, Simon & Schuster, ages 6-9.

When a stranger with a ladder and bag of tools turns up on Grimloch Lane, unusual things begin to happen. Each morning the neighborhood folks wake up to a new topiary creature created from a tree. A young boy, William, notices the changes to the trees but also to the people in the neighborhood, and he sets out to solve the mystery of the stranger. Lovely hues of soft greens and blues depict the gardener’s night-time creativity.

“Green Bean! Green Bean!” by Patricia Thomas, Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner, 2016, Dawn Publishers, ages 4-7.

Planting bean seeds in the garden becomes a year round adventure for a young girl and her dog. Snappy poetic style and bright illustration depict the green beans’ growing process from different perspectives. The author includes supplemental information in the Explore More section, containing information about plant life cycles, planting vocabulary, instructions for growing your own beans, and a QR code leading to online lesson plans and activities as additional resources.

Review and photo by Elizabeth Dobler