The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown

Hardcover, 2009

Call number



Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: First Edition (1st printing), 40 pages


Liam discovers a hidden garden and with careful tending spreads color throughout the gray city.

Media reviews

Echoing the themes of “The Secret Garden,” it is an ecological fable, a whimsical tale celebrating perseverance and creativity, and a rousing paean, encouraging every small person and every big person that they too can nurture their patch of earth into their very own vision of Eden.

User reviews

LibraryThing member allawishus
A boy who lives in a city without a lot of greenery finds an abandoned garden on the top of an old elevated train track. Over time he cultivates the garden and it grows and grows. As others follow his gardening example, gardens spread all over the city, transforming it into a garden paradise, ha
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The illustrations are quite lovely, very calming. The variety of greens and vibrant blues make for very arresting illustrations, especially towards the end. There's also a somewhat sequential art/comic book feel to some of the illustrations. All in all it's very charming.
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LibraryThing member jianlittle
An interesting story about rebirth. With the topic I was afraid the story would delve into preachiness, but that just isn't the case. The illustrations are crisp and clear and add to the story.
LibraryThing member dreamer2000
Good book but it had an old book feel to me the pictures looked like they were from an old town and this book is less than a year old. I thought the pictures could have been brighter even though it was trying to de dreary. I didn't like the pictures in the comic line across the page
LibraryThing member arielaver
This is a fairy tale for any city. It begins, as any fairy tale should, with a sad state of affairs, and through patience, caring, and perseverance, works towards a happily-ever-after. The art in this book communicates as much, if not more than, the words, as it tells the story of Liam, a little
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boy in a sad and dreary city who decides to nurture a bit of land and ends up teaching the city through his own example how to garden.
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LibraryThing member sharonstrickland
I loved this book. It is a wonderful story about a little boy's compassion and interest in gardening. It is his curiousity that inspires beauty in an otherwise drab, forgotten part of a city where it would seem impossible for nature to thrive. The illustrations at the beginning of the story show a
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drab city comprised of concrete brick and steele. The garden grows and takes on a life of its own, spreading miles around the city.
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LibraryThing member lanebrown
This book is about a city that has no plants and the author refers to as a, “very dreary place”. Everyone stays indoors because outside is ugly but one little boy named likes to explore. He roams all over the city even though it is polluted and gray. One day, he comes across a small patch of
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green plants. He decides to care for them and begins to garden them. Under his care, the plants not only thrive but begin to spread. Eventually the whole city is covered in green. As the green spreads, so does the desire to help. People throughout the town begin gardening and caring for the plants to help make their city beautiful.

I love the opportunity for discussion on a social conscious that this book presents. Not only does it show the importance of plants and keeping our earth beautiful, but it also shows the huge difference one person can make. Liam is just one boy who liked to roam the city and he ends up encouraging everyone around his to transform their city into a beautiful place to live.
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LibraryThing member kairstream
Liam turns a drab city into a beautiful garden by inspiring others to support his efforts. A wonderful metaphor to understand how others can help support our goals.
LibraryThing member Day4
This is great book about a boy tending to a garden and seeing the product of his care and attention. A colorful, wonderful visual attraction to a subject that is a little off the beaten path.
LibraryThing member untitled841
"The garden was especially curious about old, forgotten things."
The story of a little boy and a garden that change the city they live in by exploring and growing.
LibraryThing member HilarySI624
In a dreary city, Liam’s curiosity and love of being outdoors lead him to discover and nurture a hidden garden on an abandoned elevated railway. Peter Brown’s timely picture book The Curious Garden explores the tenacity of nature and its effects on both structures and people around it. Brown
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endows his growing garden with the human characteristics of sleeping, patience, and curiosity, making it a rather apt friend for the somewhat solitary but adventurous Liam. The almost three dimensional illustrations lend a realism to the world Brown is creating, similar to a digitally animated movie. The pictures slowly brighten from muted grays and earth tones in the beginning to vibrant greens, reds, and yellows as the garden slowly takes over the city. Likewise, the inhabitants of the city also begin to venture out-of-doors as the garden spreads, until trees grow as tall as high-rises and sprout treehouses for children and gardens are planted on roofs of buildings. Brown’s author’s note explains his real-life inspiration for the story, perhaps providing inspiration for the readers themselves. This would be a great addition to school and public libraries both.
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LibraryThing member katie.flanigan
This book has great illustrations. I really liked this story. I think all children would enjoy reading this book.
LibraryThing member ReadAloudDenver
A boy's curiosity leads him to the old abandoned train tracks where he spots a dying patch of plants that he falls under his gentle care and grows into a thriving garden. Over several years, his initial garden becomes the impetus for the greening and natural beautification of the entire city. The
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illustrations of passing of both seasons and time in this book help children develop narrative skills where they learn to describe the story in their own words.
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LibraryThing member ebmcc
simply told, but beautiful concept of a how a garden can relieve a community of the drab industrial persona it takes on
LibraryThing member CarolyneBegin
This story follows a young boy, named Liam, as he tries to spread beauty throughout a city that has long been devoid of it. As he is exploring his city, he comes across some plants growing on some abandoned railroad tracks and decides to care for them. He maintains a small garden for the first
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season and after a long winter returns to continue his work. The plants need a lot of help but he soon notices that there are more and more plants popping up throughout the city! The beauty of nature has spread and so has the appreciation for it as gardeners also start popping up in the least expected places. What started out as a solo act brings beauty and joy to an entire city.
The artwork is amazing and really shows the contrast between the city at the beginning and what it looks like after the plants have spread. There are several pages without words that express the theme well.
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LibraryThing member juju1220
Love this book! I am a gardener myself so I enjoyed the extra steps that the format of this book provided. A story about a boy who turns a tiny area of greenery into a sprawled garden that takes over the city. I enjoyed the non texted pages that shows the garden in different stages throughout the
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city. The story about the boy who takes care of the growing garden even during the winter preparing his plans for the springtime. In the end I enjoyed how the gardening effect took on the city and new gardeners evolved!
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LibraryThing member szierdt
The Curious Gardener reflects the possibilities that gardens can create. A useful book for teaching about community, civic responsibility, and sustainablity. The author notes the question that led to the writing of this book, "what would happen if an entire city decided to trulu cooperate with
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nature? How would that city change? How would it all begin? Perfect book to take into the school garden.
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LibraryThing member laurakurtz
I love this book. The world Liam lives in is all grey and ugly, no plants at all. But then while out exploring one day, he finds a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world. The
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illustrations are beautiful, growing more and more lush as the garden takes over the city. The environmental themes of how much better plants make our lives, and the guerrilla gardening aspect too are awesome!
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LibraryThing member lorinhigashi
The Curious Garden is a heartwarming story about a little boy who decides to take matters into his own hands about the environment and his community. Liam wants to improve his city and does so by taking care of a garden he comes across, but not always being successful in the beginning. I appreciate
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that the story introduces this idea to young readers, as success does not always come during the first try. As the trend of being green and caring for the environment is increasing, this story is a great way to introduce young readers to this concept and also becoming leaders in their own community. The illustrations are enhance the story with pretty backgrounds and becoming more colorful and vibrant as Liam's garden continues to grow.
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LibraryThing member samantha.roth
This book starts out with a gloomy town with no greenery or life except for the human race. A young boy bored one day begins to explore and comes across a few plants. With his assistance these small plants grow into a wonderful garden that takes over the town, however, in a pleasant way and
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everyone begins to pitch in to maintain it.
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LibraryThing member vadnama
A beautiful story without beating us over the head about caring for the world around us and how that can lead to beauty again.
LibraryThing member copad2thing
The book is about Liam who is exploring his drab and encounters a struggling garden. He decides to help the plants grow.
LibraryThing member bnlmoore
This book is about Liam who lives in city of gardens. Most of the characters in this book do not roam outside but Liam does. Liam is an explorer and is a curious character. Liam finds an abandoned railway and he sees that there are plants that are not growing because of the old rails. Liam comes to
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the railway everyday to care for these plants and as the years go by he becomes a great gardener who has beautiful plants that he helped to grow.
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LibraryThing member dianaking
This story is about a young boy named Liam who has a curiosity for exploring nature. One day, he encounters an abandoned railroad and begins to water the wild plants. This attention to the wildlife spreads to other gardeners of the city.

I enjoyed this book. I grew up near railroad tracks in
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FortWorth and this brought up some memories of my childhood. I also enjoy attending my flower garden. This story brings special attention to the fact that beauty can be found in the least expecting place.

In the classroom, I would have the students go home and take a picture of something growing in your yard in the least expecting place. Describe the area that this growth is and why do you think it has survived. Is there moisture from something? Sunny spot? Little moisture or little light? Size?
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LibraryThing member jillkennedy
Liam, an imaginative and determined boy is out for a walk in his dreary city when he discovers an open stairway to an unused railroad bed. He runs up to explore and finds that there are wildflowers and plants growing! Excitedly Liam begins to tend to the plants: pruning, watering, and singing to
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them. It turns out that the plants are just as curious as Liam, and they begin to spread through the city.
The bold illustrations, rendered in acrylic, are realistic. Placement and size vary: vignettes show Liam watering or admiring his plants and full or double page spreads provide a view of the changing city. The strength of the illustrations is such that the story is clearly understood even without text.
Initially, dull shades of brown, gray, and muted brick reds portray an industrialized city. As Liam's plants begin to thrive, the colors become vibrant, bright, and happy. The sky is an eye-popping azure, the daisies are bright white, and the grasses are lush greens. While there still are smokestacks, abandoned cars, and boarded up buildings, the overall sense from the images is one of joy.
Liam’s uplifting tale encourages a love of gardening. This book would be a super read-aloud for Pre-schoolers to 2nd graders and would be a good lead in for a discussion about the benefits of plants to our health and communities. A simple seed project or gardening activity would be a natural follow-up.
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LibraryThing member dms02
Vivid illustrations depicting one persons small action that results in a city wide change. Fun concept - great of this season of garden prep.


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 2012)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — Picturebook — 2012)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — Primary — 2011)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Primary — 2012)
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (Winner — Picture Book — 2010)
Iowa Goldfinch Award (Nominee — 2022)
Green Earth Book Award (Honor — Picture Book — 2010)
Children's Favorites Awards (Winner — 2010)




0316015474 / 9780316015479


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