I am always hunting for an addition to expand the love affair with books that my family and I share. From board books to to ancient classics that require waders to get through, we just love a great book. (In fact, my three teenagers took it upon themselves to refresh our bookshelves for Christmas by replacing their old favorites that had been lost in our move or had simply worn-out, so that their younger sibs (18months-11 years) didn't miss out. (For anyone who is interested in some kids' opinions on must-needs for the family library, those included Treasure Island, Dr. Doolittle, the new Mysterious Benedict Society title (-can't remember the title, but picked for love of the series), Jack Prelutsky's Little Peep, Bear Snores On, and an old out-of-print Louisa May Alcott work, Jack and Jill, which was the only hole in my daughter's collection of Alcott).
My point is, we LOVE a great book of any level. But this is not one. While the simple and quaint water-color illustrations are charming and colorful, there is not really anything else to say about it. There is nothing overtly wrong with it, but I don't feel it deserves anything like the accolades it receives here, which were what prompted me to purchase it, and be subsequently disappointed. It reads like a cute little home-school English project to be shared with the grandparents and the co-op, but not a standard on which to spend the money and trees. I might check it out of the library when teaching a write-your-own-book unit to my students to show kids how simple an idea can be -"See? These kids just used their experience planting their garden as a story. I bet you have done lots of things this year that could become a story!" But then I wouldn't expect their books to be published, because there is just far more to a good children's book than a hint at basic narrative and simple pictures. Elegance in simplicity and substance in the telling are currencies not lost on children, even if they cannot articulate what they appreciate or reproduce it. But at the very least, in a book like this one, a cleaner rendering of the rather clumsily-presented "Don't give up" theme might have honed the crude-and-hard-to-grasp point of printing this 'story'.
I would add, because some reviews suggest that this book is an educational tool, it is NOTHING of the sort (unless you want to highlight the illustrations for artistic discussion). I didn't think I was buying a step-by-step science book, but I was hopeful, based on the reviews, that it would contain some helpful information tucked in here and there. (I didn't buy it for that, but it would have been easy to make the book far more educational than it was). Other than some simple inclusions like, insects pollinated their plants or ladybugs ate aphids (-k-1st grade knowledge much more creatively taught in books like Eric Carle's board books), there was nothing else to be gained, and that sort of info didn't really jive with age of the audience. (It's a picture book, but extensively worded for such. It's very hard to say to what age this book would appeal. I have them spread from preschool to college and it doesn't seem to fit anywhere. I would gauge the age to be 2nd-4th grade-ish, not so much for the writing, but for the concept. Too many words and unrelatable for the preschool set, too simplistic and cheesy for anyone much older (I love wholesome, but
wholesome and cheesy aren't the same thing).
This was one of several gardening-themed books I bought for Christmas this year, (both literary: R.L. Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses", "Seeds and Trees", "Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt", and some how-to books) to go with supplies for a fairy terrarium project. "We are the Gardeners" was my least favorite. As far as children's books, the best of the lot (besides R.L. Stevenson's classic poems, of course) was "Up in the Garden and down in the Dirt", which my husband felt had an elegance of expression and movement with which children's authors seldom bother, and I agree. It is a charming walk through a year in Grandma's garden.
There is a lot of garbage being published out there and This book isn't that, by any means. It's just a little too homespun and childish (not to be confused with child-like, which is a great asset to a children's book) and uninteresting in both word and story (and my family loves gardening), to be worth the shelf space in my opinion.
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We Are the Gardeners Hardcover – Illustrated, Picture Book, 26 March 2019
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- Language : English
- Hardcover : 40 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1400314224
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400314225
- Reading age : 4 - 8 years
- Best Sellers Rank: 34,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: 430 reviews
Cookies and Milk
Not All That30 December 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
44 people found this helpful
So lovely!!27 March 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
Well, it's official. Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal. This book is just as wholesome and lovely as you could possibly make a children's book. Some actual knowledge presented in a really cute, fun way. It has personality and comes from real life. It is inspiring and motivating to get the kids' hands in the dirt. This book did exactly to me what I feel pretty confident Joanna hoped it would do... And, of course, it is WAAAY too pretty to sit on a shelf somewhere. It's just begging to be displayed.
So lovely!!Well, it's official. Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal. This book is just as wholesome and lovely as you could possibly make a children's book. Some actual knowledge presented in a really cute, fun way. It has personality and comes from real life. It is inspiring and motivating to get the kids' hands in the dirt. This book did exactly to me what I feel pretty confident Joanna hoped it would do... And, of course, it is WAAAY too pretty to sit on a shelf somewhere. It's just begging to be displayed.
Reviewed in the United States on 27 March 2019
Reviewed in the United States on 27 March 2019
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59 people found this helpful
Wonderful book29 March 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
We are the Gardeners is a delightful book. We enjoyed that it was a lengthier picture book rather that a couple of words a page. The day we read this book, my 5 year old daughter had a predicament she came up against and she said, "I don't give up!" and she kept at it. As a mother I really appreciate a book that encourages loving & creative family time, hard word, critical thinking, not giving up etc.. Thank you for sharing this part of your story so we can see God's light shine through it.
41 people found this helpful
Beautiful story, lessons and illustrations28 March 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
I just received my book and read it right away. I bought it for many reasons...I love Joanna, I am an early childhood educator, and so I tend to collect childrens books. I am also a new Nana ❤ and want to share my love of gardening with my grandchildren. I found this book adorable! The story is sweet and has many subtle important life lessons for children. The illustrations are soft and beautiful. I cant wait to share it with my granddaughter and future students!
35 people found this helpful
This is such a cute story, and the illustrations are whimsical27 March 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
I really like this book! It’s to be read, and re-read to children who either are or are not excited about gardening. This story will motivate everyone. Yes, it usually starts with a plant :-) Truly inspirational for children of all ages!
30 people found this helpful