Books That Make Us Want to Eat Our Veggies (…or not)

Anybody else an aspiring Green Thumb? I have dreams of a prolific vegetable garden planted in neat, long rows that yields a bounty of fresh veggies all summer long. Well, I have to confess, this year’s garden was mostly a flop. The seedlings that somehow managed to live produced here and there and then withered away beneath the scorching Tennessee sun in our backyard weed jungle. Maybe next year (she says for the third year in a row).

Bear in last year’s cherry tomato jungle

The only success we consistently have is our crop of volunteer cherry tomatoes that, I’m convinced, would survive in a desert. We do not plant them or care for them in any way, they just spring up from what seeds fell to the ground the year before. One of Bonnie’s favorite summer activities is taking a little bowl to the garden and filling it up with cherry tomatoes to eat warm and sweet off the vine. We take them to school to share with our teachers, to work to share with coworkers, and pack them with cheese and crackers in our lunch box. Cherry tomatoes, we love you, because you’re the only thing we seem to be able to grow.

Today I thought I’d share our favorite books about the garden … the garden I wish I had. First this cutie little lift-the-flap board book for the Mouse.


It’s bright and colorful, and shows (very simply) all the gardening basics even down to getting rid of the slimy slugs. When we all read it together, Bear helps us find all the little details in the pictures. We count flowers, we spot insects. It is perfect for adding some new gardening words like shovel and pail to vocabulary. (Thanks, Nana, for this little gem!)


I instantly loved And The Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson. For me, the garden will forever be connected to my Grandmother Wilson, and this book brings back so many memories of spending time with her while she tended her garden. Gram and Joe have this same special relationship with each other and the good brown earth. This book illustrates the garden in every season from “digging time” to “thinking time.” I loved the way Gram allows Joe to experience what “the good brown earth does best” by learning through play right alongside her. Such a special read.


Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne WIlsdorf is such a quirky, whimsical read that has become a favorite in our house. When Sophie and her parents go to the farmers’ market, they take home a butternut squash, but instead of having it for dinner, Sophie names it Bernice and takes it with her everywhere she goes. Eventually poor Bernice starts to turn mushy and blotchy and though she goes through denial, Sophie realizes her favorite friend may not last forever. In the end, Sophie does find a special way to let her love for Bernice continue to grow.


A Garden For Pig by Kathryn K. Thurman is a fun, interactive e-book we downloaded from the Storytime App on our iPad. Pig lives on an apple farm, where Mrs. Pippins feeds him all kinds of apple dishes for every meal. It’s not that he doesn’t like apples, it’s just that he’s sick of them, and he’d really like a vegetable. Pig turns into a gardener in a very unexpected way.

I’d love to hear what your little gardeners are reading. Let me know in the comments!

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