Reviews /

April’s Garden

Authored by Isla McGuckin
Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
Published by Graffag Limited

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April’s Garden is a book about hope and about disappointment and being cross. April and her Mamma are moving. They are going somewhere new, somewhere that is not their own home but a home shared with others. April is not a happy girl, this may be one of many moves, we don’t know. We also don’t know why they are moving.

April is downcast and feeling very cross. April’s Mamma however is always looking for the positives, the ‘silver linings’, however small. She had hope that their lives would get better. In this case it’s ‘We’ll have our own room in the new place’. April is not impressed. The darkness of these pages perfectly reflects how April is feeling.

The garden is dark and muddy and not how April has drawn her perfect garden. Encouraged by her Mamma April plants some seeds left by neighbourhood folk. They also left other things but these were not April’s and had been someone else’s before. April planted the seeds but nothing grew. waited and hoped and waited some more but despite her Mamma constantly telling her hope will prevail it didn’t and April became very frustrated. April became cross and unhappy and stated ‘This is not fair’ and it wasn’t.

Eventually after many months of waiting and waiting April and her Mamma moved to a home of their own. The darkness lifted and miraculously the seeds she had planted started to show green shoots and gradually became beautiful colourful flowers. Best of all April became happy.

This is a really sensitively told story about the feelings of being homeless. Of not having your own things and being unhappy. April doesn’t understand why this is happening but her Mamma is kind and reassuring and hopeful for their future. The illustrations marry beautifully with the text. Muted colours throughout apart from the splash from the flowers reflect I think the difficult times they are going through. The dark pages perfectly echo April’s feelings. The production and quality of the book is excellent. The choice of paper makes it very tactile.

There are many discussion points in this book that would make it an excellent addition to the Early Years and KS1 classroom or home. The sensitive way the subject matter is explored makes it very accessible to young children.