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Just Picked

From bugs to broccoli, the following garden-inspired books and toys offer something for children of all ages.

Garden-Inspired Books

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
Author: Bob Barner
Published by Chronicle Books, $12.95 (Hardcover)

Introduce kids to one of their favorite subjects with this cheerful book about bugs. Preschoolers will enjoy the full-color illustrations and rhyming text, while older children explore bug facts with the Bug-O-Meter chart of bug characteristics.

Pop-Up Bugs: Creepy Crawlers Face to FacePop-Up Bugs: Creepy Crawlers Face to Face
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Artist: Sally Hewitt Illustrator: Chris Gilvan-Sullivan
Harry N. Abrams, Inc. / Abrams Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (Hardcover)

This is a paper engineering feat of striking impact. The bugs' creepy crawlers' colors are gorgeous; each individual one pops out BIG and SCARY. Each is terrifying fun, but each is clearly not real, not really a fright - the red tarantula, the blue-green almost black scorpion, the enormous MEAN wasp and the vicious pink praying mantis. All, like the experience of looking at this book, are memorable.

In My GardenIn My Garden
Ages: 3 & Up
Author: Ward Schumaker
Chronicle Books, $13.95 (Hardcover)

Cover two birds with one stone in this colorful book about gardening and counting. From apples to onions and peas to potatoes, the illustrations will keep young readers counting the whole summer through.

A Gardener's Alphabet
Ages: 4 & Up
Author: Mary Azarian
Houghton Mifflin Co., $16.00 (Hardcover)

Sure to become your child's favorite summer read, this beautifully illustrated alphabet book not only teaches letters but also garden vocabulary. The masterful hand-colored woodcuts by Mary Azarian clearly express her love of her own garden, something readers young and old will appreciate.

The Tale of the TurnipThe Tale of the Turnip
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Brian Alderson    Illustrator: Fritz Wegner
Candlewick Press, $12.99 (Hardcover)

The great pumpkin has lots of competition in this delightful tale of a turnip. Through meticulously detailed illustrations the story unfolds of a farmer who discovers a turnip in his field that just grows and grows and grows. This as a charming traditional English tale that should not be missed.

Who Is In the Garden
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
By: Vera Rosenberry
Holiday House, Inc., $16.95 (Hardcover)

Children's illustrator Vera Rosenberry brings an English garden to life through beautiful watercolor paintings. Children will become nature detectives as they search the trees and flowers for birds, snakes, mice, and a turtle or two. It is truly a feast for the eyes.

Making Minestrone
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Stella Blackstone    Illustrator: Nan Brooks
Barefoot Books, Inc., $15.99 (Hardcover)

This gentle book softly celebrates teamwork, cultural diversity, the pleasures of the garden and the comfort of the kitchen. Written in rhyme (which you will find yourself reciting, even when there are no children in hearing distance) the text traces the adventure of, well, making minestrone, from the planning stages, to the harvesting of ingredients, to the preparation in the kitchen. A simple-to-follow recipe for minestrone allows readers to have their own minestrone adventures.

Monarch Magic! Butterfly Activities & Nature Discoveries
Ages: 4 - 12 yrs.
Williamson Publishing, $12.95 (Hardcover)

For children interested in butterflies - monarchs in particular - this book should not be missed. Through photographs and illustrations, children learn about the life cycle of the butterfly, how to plant a butterfly garden, and crafting butterfly-inspired artwork.

Kid's Easy-to-Create Wildlife HabitatsKid's Easy-to-Create Wildlife Habitats
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Williamson Publishing, $12.95 (Paperback)

Emily Stetson has created one terrific resource for children and families interested in exploring the wildlife in the environment around them. Children will learn how to best observe animals, build birdfeeders with items often on hand at home, find resources for building squirrel boxes and bat houses, and construct a "blind" for better viewing opportunities.

Kids Can Jumbo Book of GardeningThe Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Karyn Morris    Illustrator: Jane Kurisu
Kids Can Press, $14.95 (Hardcover)

Both children and adults will get years of gardening pleasure out of this information-packed reference book. The first few chapters offer general garden guidelines, followed by chapters on vegetable and flower gardens; noninvasive native plants; gardens that attract wildlife; and group projects.

Garden Activities

Table Top Greenhouse
Ages: 7 & Up
Faber-Castell USA, $25.00

Kids 7 and up can grow edible herbs in this 10" x 12" x 6" wooden greenhouse they decorate themselves with 6 colors of paint. Includes soil and seeds to grow basil, dill and parsley.

Wee Enchanted GardenWee Enchanted Garden
Ages: 7 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $22.00

This kit is perfect for first-time gardeners with limited space. Children decorate the planter dish, create a landscape and plant the seeds that are enclosed (in the incipient garden). The plants begin sprouting in just a few days.

Don't Miss

How Does Your Garden Grow?
Gardening is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together. Don't miss these great garden ideas and start digging into the fun.

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