The For­ev­er Garden

Lau­rel Sny­der; Saman­tha Cot­ter­ill, illus.
  • Review
By – August 25, 2017

Lau­rel, the nar­ra­tor of this endear­ing and beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed sto­ry, is a young girl who lives next door to avid gar­den­er Hon­ey. Lau­rel observes Hon­ey tend­ing her gar­den and even­tu­al­ly vol­un­teers to help her. The two become good friends and Lau­rel comes to appre­ci­ate the mag­ic of tend­ing a gar­den and shar­ing the earth’s boun­ty. After a while, Hon­ey moves away to take care of her ail­ing moth­er and although Lau­rel is sad to see Hon­ey leave, the sad­ness does not take over the sto­ry. Before Hon­ey leaves, she and Lau­rel plant a tree and Hon­ey assures her that the tree will last a long time. Final­ly, new neigh­bors move in and the gar­den­ing tra­di­tion continues

Although the sto­ry is uni­ver­sal and time­less, the author notes that it is loose­ly based on the Tal­mu­dic sto­ry of Honi, who meets a man plant­i­ng a carob tree so that future gen­er­a­tions will enjoy its fruit. A dis­cus­sion of Honi and of plant­i­ng trees in gen­er­al makes the sto­ry par­tic­u­lar­ly appro­pri­ate for Tu b’Shevat.

The book is illus­trat­ed with water­col­or-style draw­ings which pro­vide enough detail to con­tin­ue to be enter­tain­ing after mul­ti­ple read­ings. The book is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for chil­dren ages 4 to 8 as well as for the lucky adults who may have the priv­i­lege of read­ing it to them.

Mindy Langer is a retired pedi­a­tri­cian and grand­moth­er of two. She vol­un­teers in numer­ous capac­i­ties for her syn­a­gogue and is vol­un­teer read­er of med­ical texts for Learn­ing Ally, a ser­vice that pro­vides record­ed books for stu­dents with print dis­abil­i­ties. She sings in a large com­mu­ni­ty choir and is an avid quil­ter. In choos­ing books for chil­dren she most enjoys those that are both chal­leng­ing and fun for the chil­dren as well as enter­tain­ing for the adults read­ing to them.

Discussion Questions