Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released released September 3, 2019, by Kids Can Press.
The Goodreads description begins:
In an ordinary garden full of flowers and plants, little Jack and Mr. Gnome live above the ground, while Yvonne the mole, the Field Mouse family, Paulie the earthworm and Colette the ant live below the ground. Everybody is happy in the garden. Until one day, a new seed arrives, which soon sprouts into a plant. As the plant begins to grow (and grow, and grow), its stalk and leaves get in the way of those aboveground, and its roots disrupt the homes and passageways of those underground. Before long, the plant has gotten so large, it has become a huge problem for the garden's residents. So, the friends decided they must chop it down. Unless ... wait! What's that growing on the plant?
read more here
I had trouble when I first tried to read this on my iPad. The story is composed of double page spreads that are integral to understanding what's going on. On my device, I was only able to read one page at a time. It also seemed a bit wordy and the font is very small. I went through some rigmarole to figure out which pages went together. I even brought a couple into Photoshop to see what the full spread would look like. It worked much better seeing this bigger picture, but the font is still too small.
When I finally figured out how the pages fit together and went to the trouble of combining them, I loved the artwork. I can see younger students poring over the details. Heck, I was fascinated by the cross sections of the animal abodes under ground.
I ended up enjoying the story. There are layers of meaning to ponder and messages of all sorts to take away from it. It addresses adapting to change, understanding the systemic nature of the environment, and working together with others, just to start. I am left wondering what students will take out of it.
The ending is a bit humorous, but I can imagine a heated discussion with students about what the community should do.