Monday, April 18, 2011

Gardening Books for Kids

A month ago, I began my search for a good gardening book to use with my children.  I requested 5 books through our library system.  I went to the library and looked through what they had.  I went to the book store...  

There's a very popular book called Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy that many people love.    It has 43-5 star reviews on Amazon.  But, would you believe that I don't like it?  I must be crazy.  I thought it was cute and fun to look at it.  It had some great information and neat ideas.  But...  it also required a lot of reading and my children wouldn't be able to read it with me.  Just as with my textbooks, I need books I can grab and go.  I need things to be simple and straightforward.  So, I ordered a book sight unseen from a series that I like--the Williamson Kids Can! series.  

Kids Garden!  is out of print, but you can find it used on Amazon.  It's only $4 with shipping from Amazon.  I like this series because I can read it with my children--and add in extra explanation when I want to.  But, it gives the basics.  It talks about basic gardening tools, gardening inside, gardening outside, companion planting (very, very basically), flower gardens, a few recipes, fun activities to see how things grow, and more.  Of course, since it is a Williamson Kids Can book, the pictures are not in color, but they are outlines, so if you prefer color, you and your children could color the pages you do together as a way to remember what you did and write the date on the picture (even stick some pictures in the book!).  Of all the books I looked at, this was the best for kids to read and for moms like me who want a basic, easy to read book.  If you want to just dabble in gardening or you don't have a backyard, there's plenty of ways in this book to share the joy of how plants grow with your children.  That was one thing I thought was especially neat about this book.  One assumption I would have made before reading this book was that you need a backyard to enjoy gardening with your kids.  Not so!  There's plenty you can do in an apartment, townhome, or condo.  You can have an indoor greenhouse (in a box), you can have a few containers on a deck with plants, you can experiment with beans to see how they grow, or you can even have a cactus garden!  Though I'd be nervous about the last one with kids unless you had really good gloves!  One tip...I did put tabs on the pages I wanted to turn to frequently so I can flip to those pages in a jiffy with my kids.

This is the best and only book that I really loved for reading with my kids about gardening.  I have told the girls that they are going to have their own raised bed this year and that they can plant anything they want in there.  They were thrilled with the idea.  I'll post over the coming months about what I learn as we go through this process.

The rest of the garden is going to be mine to plan, plant, weed, and take care of.  So, I needed a bit more information than what was in this book.  I have found several books that I really like for adults that I'm going to post about in the coming days.  Another review coming tomorrow...

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