And The Good Brown Earth
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Whatever the season, whatever the weather, Nan and Charlie visit and tend their vegetable patch. Sometimes they dig and sometimes they sow. Well, mainly it's Nan who works, while Charlie is intermittently interested, being somewhat distracted by hosepipes and mud. Sometimes Charlie just lies in the long green grass and sings and all the while, the good brown earth gets on with what the good brown earth does best. And The Good Brown Earth is a well-written story, containing characters with whom the reader can empathise, but it is let down by the over fussy illustrations. Much of the artwork lacks a focal point and is just too busy. Some double spreads seem to have been created with the intent of packing in as many different watercolour painting techniques as possible, including, amongst others, sponging, spattering and scratching but the more successful illustrations are the minimalist ones. A sparing approach to the use of busy illustrations (for example, when all Nan and Charlie's hard work literally comes to fruition) would have worked better.