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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Holly Bloom’s Garden (artists)

Holly Bloom’s Garden
written by Sarah Ashman and Nancy Parent
illustrated by Lori Mitchell
32 color pages, ages 4-8
Paperback, ISBN 978-0979974601, April 2008
Hardcover, ISBN 0972922504, April 2004

I’m happy to see this is in paperback so more readers will have access in classroom collections. I still need the hardcover for an elementary library, but paperbacks make great teacher gifts. This would also be a good recommendation for multiple copies in centers in classrooms.

Some books have artwork that is simply pleasing and makes you happy. I think Lori Mitchell’s work is colorful and precise. It appeals to the obsessive part of my nature because everything is just right in the pictures. Remember Lori’s first work: Different Just Like Me from Charlesbridge?

Personally since I have a black thumb, not a green thumb, I can relate to Holly Bloom’s wishes to be a gardening expert like her family. She sticks with her attempts to make things grow, and we commiserate as those things just won’t grow no matter what tools she tries. I think this is a perfect book for reading at your own speed so that you catch the visual clues to predict how Holly will create her garden.  Be sure to access the activity guide so you can include directions for creating paper tissue flowers and much more in your centers.

I particularly like the web page blurb which concludes:

The cover image of Holly measuring herself against a tall sunflower encapsulates her yearning to
see how she measures up against the excellent gardeners in her family. This charming book uses
playful language to teach plenty about gardening, but more about the joy of being yourself and
finding your own true talents – even if that makes you a late bloomer.