From Alexis Frederick-Frost. Published by :01 First Second.
Recently my wife’s best friend asked me to get some gardening books from work (at the local library, for any new readers). I selected about 20 of the most popular and newest because I’m not a dirt digger and I had no idea what would be helpful nor what exactly she was looking for. Imagine my surprise when one of these books came in and it’s a graphic novel! While this wasn’t the kind of book she was looking for, it’s the kind of book this whole blog is all about. I sat down with “the ultimate DIY guide with 6 gardening activities.”
This book features a group of gnome kids who are starting their school year at Garden Gnome Academy. They’re all put into Mr. Butternut’s class and he puts the nut in his name. While this may not seem to be the coolest class, these kids end up learning more than any other students and coincidentally use their new gardening knowledge to save the day.
The comic story itself is loads of fun for kids. I mean, I loved it too but it is perfect for children. The gnomes are close to human and adorable. The world they live in is literally right below us and outside, new yet familiar. Alexis does a great job introducing every character and giving readers a reason to care. As soon as I got to know the gnomes now there’s a worm, a mole, and more friends to join this adventure.
Plus, of course, the reason we’re here, all of the gardening information. My grandfather loved his garden. I have friends that are out there every day as their zen hobby. Familiarity does not mean understanding. This book was enlightening. I should know better, really I should, but if anyone asked me before reading this book I would have said gardening is putting the seeds in the ground and watering every so often. Check the area for bugs and rodents. Pick when ready. For some reason I didn’t think of the details at all. The fertilizer, the seed prep, the frost, everything. I learned an amazing amount within a graphic novel for kids.
If you would like to start a garden with no previous experience I really recommend going this route. Simple explanations. Clearly drawn instructions. New knowledge that builds on other lessons from earlier in the book. I felt confident enough to start a garden after reading this. If I wanted to that is, because as interesting as this book was it also taught me gardening is something to be taken seriously. Fun, but serious. If I half ass it as the newest hobby it’s going to fall to the side quickly and then I’ll be frustrated with my yield. Which will not be the fault of the ground or the seeds, it will be my fault for not applying everything Mr. Butternut taught me in class.