Vintage Finds: Let's Grow a Garden

Burgin Streetman
April 20, 2018

I will never, ever, ever tire of indulging myself with Gyo Fukikawa's illustrations. Her characters and books are such instant sight memories for my childhood. The multicultural kids with their tiny dot eyes and adorable round faces. The little overalls and outfits and animals sniffing around. Her pages are filled with frolicking and joy and nature, truly a picture of what life was meant to be.

Let's Grow a Garden, published in 1978, is the best of her best and is perfect for this time of year when spring has sprung and all things underground reveal themselves anew. Open its cover and you'll find dainty illustrations of children sorting through seed packets at the feed store. Shoot, that's something I still love doing. The innocence and excitement of looking at all the different pictures and imagining what you can grow and do. The tiny paper packaging perfect for little hands. This followed by drawings of children working in the garden to create and build something together. So simple and idealistic... the moments we all hope our children will have to remember in years to come.

It looks like spring is here!
Let's grow a garden, full of good and tasty vegetables.
We start by getting little packets of seeds,
and tiny, leafy seedlings all ready to plant.
Then we put then in the earth in neat and tidy rows.
And there it is... our garden!

The back of the book informs that there were a number of these square board books in this series, some of which I remember... some I've never had the pleasure of perusing: Puppies, Pussycats and Other Friends, Let's Play, Let's Eat, Sleepy Time, Can You Count?, Babes of the Wild, Betty Bear's Birthday, Surprise! Surprise, Millie's Secret, My Favorite Thing. What an amazing legacy to have created so many wonderful memories for so many children. Knowing there are more of Gyo's books out there to discover makes my baby's fleeting childhood all the more devastating. Truly brings meaning to the phrase "so many books, so little time."

From the Parents

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