‘Green fingers at the ready-it’s time to get farming!’
This is just the way to write a first gardening book for children. The writing style is conversational but the advice is clear and the information is sound. The idea of a farm as a setting for all sorts of interesting activities outdoors works extremely well. Double spreads give practical advice about sowing and growing seeds, decorating flowerpots, nurturing sunflowers and chives and there is helpful input on garden friends and garden pests. There are some fine, bright pictures of birds, insects and flowers and others with some visual humour: a smiling carrot holds a trowel and a vibrant strawberry rides a bike. Some might feel the plants with faces mismatch with informational writing, but this kind of quirkiness entertains young children and they soon distinguish between the information and the fun elements. And the book does introduce some of the conventions of procedural writing. Each activity is set out in numbered steps, key words like ‘compost’, ‘trowel’ and ‘pollination’ are defined and there are simple labelled diagrams of a seedling and a flower. Adult help would be needed to carry out some of the activities and the author points out where this is the case. This would be a useful addition to the early years classroom collection or home library.