The Curious Garden

The Curious Garden

Book - 2009 | First edition
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Liam discovers a hidden garden and with careful tending spreads color throughout the gray city.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co. Books for Young Readers, 2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316015479
Branch Call Number: J+FIC
Characteristics: 1 volumes (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm


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ArapahoeTina Oct 26, 2019

This is a beautiful book for children and adults alike. We all need to remember the importance of keeping nature in our lives and in our cities.

It's a magical story about a boy's dream and how he can change the world into a better place with just his dream. It's a very encouraging story for little kids.


May 19, 2016

This was the first garden book I fell in love with. A boy discovers a strange thing in his bleak, grey city: a tiny garden, creating itself out of nothing. He begins to tend it, and learn from it, and soon other people start tending it and learning from it, and the entire city is transformed. A story about the environment, and paying attention, and community. Without any preaching!

Mar 09, 2016

Awesome book. Another we ended up buying.
It highlights the balance of nature and progress nicely without it over running the story.
It's well written and engaging.

Aug 21, 2015

this is my favorite picture book! I read it over and over and over because I love it so much!

May 25, 2015

SUMMARY: Liam lives in an induatrial, smoky and dirty city. Most people prefer to stay inside, but not Liam. He loves to explore, one day he finds a closed down train track. When he explores it, he finds plants there. They need help. Liam becomes a gardener and tends to the plants until they grow green and healthy. Then they begin to spread along the tracks as well as throughout the town. As the plants begin popping up all over town, more people begin tending to them and creating their own gardens even in the most unexpected places.

ILLUSTRATIONS: The illustrations were created in acrylic and gouache on board. They are creative, colorful and nicely detailed. The author throws in little humorous details that make the story more fun such as when Liam, incognito, transplants some of his plants to another part of the city (gee, how did that get there?). The illustrations of the growing greenery were realistic as to how they would truly look in a concrete city and yet completely beautiful.

THE GOOD: This is an utterly delightful story. I loved watching the transformation of the city over time as the plants spread little by little. And these were not special plants. They were moss and flowering weeds that you might see pop up in a city landscape. I enjoyed Liam's happy go lucky attitude. He did not stand up and insist the city make changes for the better. Instead he made a positive change and allowed it to grow. And the work was not always easy for him. Liam worked hard to grow these plants. This story is utterly inspiring and a wonderful way to teach children how big changes can happen through hard work that begins with them.

AGE RECOMMENDATION: Advertised for ages 3-6, but I think ages 7 & 8 will enjoy it as well. This would be a perfect story to read on Earth Day or at the beginning of a gardening unit.

May 01, 2014

My tot and I loved this book so much we ended up purchasing it.
Explores the importance of nature through guerrilla gardening. Love every illustration and the entire story.


I’ll admit to you right off the bat that I read the book once, and then put it away without another thought. Then I read the book a second time and my interest was peaked. About the moment I read the book a third time I was hooked for good. Peter Brown’s story isn’t what one would call exactly subtle, but what he’s managed to do here is tell a good story without falling into the usual traps and trials so many environmental picture books have found themselves enmeshed in before. No small feat.

Mar 20, 2013

perfect for adults.

Mar 31, 2011

A good little story about wanting to do something on your own and watching it grow.

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Age Suitability

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Oct 07, 2017

Amajah1111 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 1 and 4

Aug 23, 2017

mmasno01 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 4 and 99

Aug 21, 2015

dvtucker thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 1 and 99


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 4 years and over

Jul 03, 2013

HilarySquires thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add a Summary

In a city like any city where the people spend their time mostly indoors, there lives a boy named Liam. A curious lad, one day Liam stumbles on a stairwell that leads up to some old railway tracks. Upon following the tracks he is delighted to discover a small patch of green in need of a gardener. Though at first he makes a lot of mistakes, Liam becomes better and better at helping the tough little weeds and flowers to grow. The garden, which is as curious as Liam, spreads. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes in a bad way. And as people notice the growth they too are inspired to start their own gardens. Years later, the city is transformed and Liam (who has married and had children in the interim) is still there. Pruning and tending and happy. Inspired by the beauty of New York’s High Line park (an old elevated railway recently converted into a lush garden) Brown tells the tale of a city melded with nature, producing something utterly new and entirely beautiful.


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