Badger's Perfect Garden

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From School Library Journal

PreS-K-When spring comes, Badger plants a meticulously planned out garden with the seeds he collected the previous summer, and with some help from Red Squirrel, Weasel, and Dormouse. The group celebrates their labors with some muffins and mulberry juice, but the next days bring severe rains that wash away their hard work. Badger’s friends comfort him, promising other opportunities for gathering seeds, but Badger is devastated. One summer day, the little animals rush into Badger’s house to bring him the happy news—”[his] seeds found a new place to grow!” Badger comes to terms with this new mixed-up garden and the friends have another fete. Kaulitzki’s illustrations radiate coziness and peace with their earth-toned meadow, softly illuminated sky, and depiction of gentle breezes, while small pops of bright colors in little details add cheerful fun, such as with Badger’s yellow gloves or Weasel’s pink hat. Even the devastating gale is made less scary by the light spilling from Badger’s house and his bright red inside-out umbrella. The cartoon protagonists are appealing in their friendly roundness and nearly pettable fur. VERDICT A sedate story with a hopeful message about embracing the imperfect and unpredictable outcomes, well-suited to gardening displays and storytimes.-Yelena Voysey, formerly at Pickering Educational Library, Boston University

Review

….the message of coping with unmet expectations and not giving up hope is worthwhile. –Kirkus Reviews

In a story about patience and tempering expectations, Kaulitzki creates a woodland world of tree trunk homes and anthropomorphic animals. Red Squirrel and Dormouse help Badger plant a garden using the seeds he has stored in small jars. Badger envisions the plants growing into perfectly aligned rows, so when a storm washes out the garden, he despairs. His friends reassure him ( Seeds will float on the wind again, when the sunniest days come ), but, inconsolable, Badger spends the summer indoors. Red Squirrel, Dormouse, and Weasel excitedly knock on his door one day: the scattered seeds have grown into a beautiful, wild mélange of flowers. Arnold imparts a relatable message: thwarted plans can yield unexpected gifts. –Publisher’s Weekly

Badger’s Perfect Garden is a refreshing little book about life’s pleasures and surprises. It is a book about what happens when one’s creative side is clamoring to get out. But it is also a book about how not everything can be planned; sometimes the most beautiful things are things that were never planned, but instead just happened when you (or in this case, Badger) weren’t looking. –Picture Book Depot

It’s springtime and Badger is ready to plant the perfect garden. He has spent months gathering and sorting seeds. It’s been a lot of work but it’s worth it. His friends Red Squirrel, Dormouse, and Weasel come to help. They weed. They rake. And finally they plant. Afterward, everyone celebrates, and Badger can already imagine the perfect rows of flowers and vegetables. But then a rainstorm comes and washes away the beautiful seeds. Badger’s perfect garden is ruined. Or is it? Author Marsha Diane Arnold’s gentle story will encourage young readers to think beyond plans and expectations and imagine the wonderful possibilities that may occur when life and nature have other ideas.

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