I’m always on the lookout for books geared toward kids that encourage them to check out what’s going on outdoors. Books after all are great at sparking the imagination and once a child begins to picture the possibilities she is more likely to head outside to investigate. And to me a kid excited about out in nature is a good thing.
I was thrilled to meet Arkansas author Dawn Denton while I was speaking to the Bentonville Garden Club. Dawn is a garden designer and former teacher who combines her dedication to preserving and appreciating the outdoors with her expertise with children to create the wonderful Guest in the Garden book series. The Last Leaf, Ruby and Rocket, Oliver the Toad and Betzy the Bumblebee relay life lessons, garden and animal facts in light-hearted, entertaining tales, perfect for the young children you’re shopping for.
The Last Leaf
Click here to buy The Last Leaf from the author.
From the authorThis picture book is geared for young children ages 2-6. With rhyming words, your child will explore all the emotions that you might feel as the last leaf on a tree in the fall. (From the author.)
Ruby and the Rocket
Click here to buy Ruby and the Rocket from the author.
A beautifully illustrated children’s book about a brother and sister hummingbird who discover a backyard garden. Come along with Ruby and Rocket to learn fun hummingbird facts, flower facts, and a life lesson of learning to be friends when you are siblings. (From the author.)
Oliver the Toad
Click here to buy Oliver the Toad from the author.
This delightful story will take your child on a journey through a vegetable garden where they will learn toad facts, vegetable facts, and the life lesson of responsibility. (From the author.)
Betzy the Bumblebee
Buy Betzy the Bumblebee from the author.
Beautifully illustrated children’s book that introduces your child to bumblebee facts, wildflower facts, and the life lesson of learning to love being you. (From the author.)
Congratulations to Ellie! Girl, you've got a pretty bad case of Barnheart!We're sending you a copy of Jenna's book.
Thanks to everyone for commenting. You've all painted wonderful pictures of rural life.
Do you have Barnheart? According to author and homesteader Jenna Woginrich Barnheart is a "dreamer's disease" that attacks "those of us who wish to God we were outside with our flocks, feed bags, or harnesses instead of sitting in front of a computer screen." Symptoms include studying chicken coop plans, daydreaming about heritage livestock breeds and calling in sick to work in the garden.
I am no stranger to the Barnheart syndrome so it was with relish that I read Jenna's memoir Barnheart*. Her story of setting up her first homestead in Vermont is thoughtful and humorous and will definitely ease your longing for the farm life.
In between tales of caring for her expanding menagerie, and tending the garden she articulately describes that feeling of independence and satisfaction that comes from having homegrown food right outside the back door. It should be no surprise that my favorite chapter is about her turkey TD (Thanksgiving Dinner).
These days Jenna is living in New York. She is the author of three other books and a blog called Cold Antler Farm.
If you think Barnheart is just what the doctor ordered for your "dreamer's disease" here's your chance to win a copy. Tell me about your homesteading daydream in the comments section below.
I'll select a winner on Friday February 10, 2012, just in time for Valentine's Day.
*I received a review copy of Barnheart from my friends at Storey Publishing.
A gift from garden designer Xa Tollemache during her recent visit to the farm prompted me to rummage through my library looking for my favorite books on garden design. Lady Tollemache gave me Andrew Wilson's book The Garden of Giubbilei. Xa takes her inspiration from many sources including her own garden at Helmingham Hall, but certainly the work of Luciano Giubbilei has influenced her award-winning designs and exhibitions at the Chelsea Flower Show. Thumbing through the book inspired me to go back to some of my old standbys.
Colour in Your Garden
Frances Lincoln (March 6, 2003)
This is the definitive book on color, or colour. I also love Penny Hobhouse's book Gardening Through the Ages. A must for history buffs.
The Garden in Winter
Frances Lincoln (July 10, 2006)
There is a line in this book that I just love. "If our gardens are to be more than graves commemorating summer's beauty, we must start by using our eyes."
Designing with Plants
Piet Oudolf and Noël Kingsbury
Timber Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2008)
I had the opportunity to visit with Piet at his garden in Holland. He is a master of texture, form and the use of native plants.
My Kind of Garden
Antique Collectors Club Dist (November 15, 2009)
This garden design book reveals how the late Mr. Hicks' sense of style extended far beyond his famous interiors. Lovely photographs and insightful commentary.
Rodale Books (February 15, 2011)
I'm currently reading my friend Stephen Orr's book Tomorrow's Garden. It takes on the topic of designing a garden with sustainability in mind.