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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > November 2019 > Garden tales

Garden tales

Marianne Dubuc and Esmé Shapiro get creative with foliage, vegetation, and the real and imagined beasts a garden holds

PICTURE BOOKS

Alma and the Beast

And Then the Seed Grew

Marianne Dubuc Kids Can Press, Ages 3–7

Alma and the Beast

Esmé Shapiro Tundra Books, Ages 3–7

MARIANNE DUBUC’S And Then the Seed Grew is the story of an invasive plant that wreaks havoc on the living arrangements of several garden residents, both subterranean (a mole, a family of mice, ants, and a worm) and above ground (Mr. Gnome and a green sprite-like creature named Jack). Dubuc ensures that kids see every bit of the growing chaos unfolding at both levels with illustrations that adopt the perspective of an ant farm, giving readers the chance to witness things underground that would otherwise be impossible to see. Domestic details of the anthropomorphized animal homes provide more to linger on, including Yvonne the Mole’s multi-room abode (complete with blue piano and loft) and a mouse house with hammocks. Even more rewarding is tracing the progression of the plant’s root disruption across each page. Yvonne rushes from room to room as two-by-fours buckle and break but, with no real danger afoot, it strikes the same chord as an upbeat cable TV home renovation show.

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