September 16, 2015

Timo's Garden

by Victoria Allenby
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Pajama Press
48 pp.
Ages 5-8
September 2015

Encouraged to sign up for Toadstool Corners’ Great, Green Garden Tour, bunny rabbit Timo begins tirelessly planning and garden-tending to make his flower garden great.  With rhythmic pairings of activity (e.g., “He trimmed and he tidied. He hurried and he scurried.  He raked and he staked. He worked and he worried.”; pg. 19) Timo works with boundless determination and relentless perfectionsim, leaving him with little time for his friends.  Even though tempted by Hedgewick’s spinach cakes, a visit to the lake, and tennis with Suki, it is only when the rains come that Timo realizes he should have been tending to his friends instead of his garden.

With deft pen and colour, author Victoria Allenby and illustrator Dean Griffiths pay homage to the characters–rabbit, hedgehog, mouse, frog, and badger–and gardens and stories of Beatrix Potter while providing a light, cautionary tale of finding the balance in life.  Unlike Victoria Allenby’s fun picture book, Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That (Pajama Press, 2013), that focused on true cat behaviour, Timo’s Garden will speak to any reader who gets too wrapped up in seemingly-important attentions.  Moreover, Dean Griffiths’ artwork which has graced over 25 children’s books, providing the realism in Lumpito and the Painter from Spain by Monica Kulling and the colourful monsters in Tweezle into Everything by Stephanie McLellan, both from Pajama Press, complements the message of taking the time to smell the roses.  His endearing creatures, vibrant flowers and brilliant garden designs in Timo’s Garden will transport all to an era when time was sweet and friends were riches not to be overlooked.

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(A version of this review was originally written for and published in Quill & Quire, as noted in the citation below.)

Kubiw, H. (2015, October). [Review of the book Timo's Garden, by Victoria Allenby, Dean Griffiths, illus.]. Quill & Quire, 81 (8): 24.

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