Monday, February 6, 2017

The Beautiful Garden of Eden by Gary Bower (children's book review)

I was the story time lady for 2 1/2 years at our local library - I love children's books! I especially love well-written children's books. There are a few things to look for in a good story time book. I'd like to share those with you using the illustration of "The Beautiful Garden of Eden" by Gary Bower because it exemplifies those characteristics.

1. It must be beautiful. This, of course, has more to do with the illustrations than the writing but a book with pictures that look like I drew them (definitely no artistry coming from my hands) are not going to draw in a child. The Beautiful Garden of Eden is illustrated by Barbara Chotiner. They are not too intricate but not too elementary. It's a beautiful blend of the two that lends wonderful pictures with this story. I love the bold colors she uses - deep pink and luscious green. I adore her details of the serpent's scales and the bramble thorns.
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2. The words must dance. This is why Dr. Seuss is so popular - he knew how to make words dance and bounce! The Beautiful Garden of Eden has a lovely lilting quality to the words. It's lovely to read aloud. If you struggle with reading a book aloud, it's not a good story time book. Bower has made these words dance with rhyme and rhythm.
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3. It's repetitive. This is not 100% true but kids tend to remember by repetition. The Garden of Eden follows "the same whimsical style of storytelling as the beloved classic 'The House That Jack Built'" and the repetition will leave your child asking for this book again and again.

4. There must be a good plot. I've read some bad books where you end up scratching your head, trying to figure out what the plot was exactly. Now, The Beautiful Garden of Eden, of course, follows the Biblical account of Adam and Eve and their fall. I love this plot because it's true, it teaches kids why we sin, and the last page leaves you with a hint of the end. Galatians 3:13 "Christ has rescued us from the curse." I'm glad Bower doesn't just leave us with a fallen Adam and Eve but skips to the end and the redeeming love of Christ.

5. It must be short. I absolutely love Berenstain Bear books and Arthur. They are not really good preschool story time books because of their length. Exceptions can be made but I prefer to use books about the length of The Beautiful Garden of Eden, Bear Snores On, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Children have short attention spans and if you would like to read more than one book at a time, then you must keep them short and sweet.

I do hope you will purchase The Beautiful Garden of Eden by Gary Bower. It would make a lovely addition to any library. I want to share this YouTube video from Bower's grandchildren.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may vary from others' opinions.

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