Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Gardener

Stewart, Sarah (Author)
Small, David (Illustrator)
Macmillan 2007. 40 pages
First published: 1997
ISBN: 9780312367497 (paperback)
9780374325176 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

dialogue, setting, structures and features

Award

Caldecott Honor Book – 1998

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this is the story of Lydia Grace Finch, a determined young girl who lives in a rural town with her mother, father and grandmother. When both her parents find themselves unemployed, she is sent away to the big city to work in her grumpy uncle’s bakery, where slowly she embarks on a mission to bring joy and beauty into his life. Ultimately, the heroine’s flower-filled window boxes and rooftop garden not only put a smile on Uncle Jim’s face but brighten the customers’ lives as well.

Told as a series of letters between Lydia and her family, the illustrations offer a different perspective than that recounted in the letters, demonstrating the importance of point of view and enriching the narrative.

David Small’s simple but evocative drawings, in the style of Raoul Dufy, eloquently recreate the mood and setting of an era very few remember.

This moving story is a reminder that even in the worst of times there are opportunities for hope. Happiness can come from the simplest things—things that have nothing to do with money.

  •  

    Discuss how families long ago (the book is set in the 1930’s) had to go wherever work could be found. Research on the Depression era would be helpful. Draw comparisons with present day life.

  •  

    Discuss the situation from the point of view of various characters in the story.

  •  

    Learn (review) the elements of letter writing. Write a letter to one of the characters explaining how you understand their feelings. 

  •  Discuss how families long ago (the book is set in the 1930’s) had to go where the work was. Draw comparisons with present day life.
  •  

    Identify the places Lydia Grace goes throughout the book. Create a labelled map of the story and include the people for each place.

  •  

    Discuss the situation from the point of view of various characters in the story.

  •  

    Compare the letter elements in this book to the elements of a letter in French. How are they the same or different? Write a letter to one of the characters.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship