The Flower Garden

by Renée Kurilla (Author)

The Flower Garden
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A magical graphic novel adventure perfect for fans of Peter & Ernesto or Tiger vs. Nightmare.

After planting a seed packet in the backyard, things don't go as expected for best friends Anna and Tess. They fall asleep in the sun and wake up to blooms as tall as buildings! Did the seeds really grow that fast? All is explained when Anna and Tess meet May, a little garden gnome whose magic is responsible for the transformation. The girls are May's size now, and they follow her through the flower garden and into May's underground gnome home--discovering new things about their world and themselves along the way. This immersive graphic novel from author-illustrator Renée Kurilla is perfect for emerging readers. It explores growing and changing friendships and offers details to discover on every page and with every read.


Starred Review
With a short page count and easy-to-read speech balloons, this is at a perfect level for chapter-book readers, and more-experienced readers will be charmed by the playful, cartoonish art in bright, saturated colors. Absolutely delightful.

School Library Journal

A cheery, colorful jaunt through a garden gnome's world, arranged lovingly and thoughtfully in graphic novel form. The journey starts with Anna imploring her friend Tessa to help her plant a flower garden so that they can save the bees. Their work complete, the two fall fast asleep. They soon awaken to find that they have shrunk down to the size of bugs. A garden gnome, May, greets them and guides them to her home. The charm of this book lies in the fanciful exploration of the world of small things; the girls hop on toadstools, make dandelion swings, and navigate the tunnels the gnomes share with a panoply of small mammals. But Anna's eagerness borders on recklessness, and try as Tess may to slow her friend from hurtling ahead, Anna nearly gets herself into some serious scrapes. Kurilla's basic story is simple and swiftly communicated, but every panel, packed with richly colored flora, communicates a slower, more impressionistic story about the garden world and about Anna and Tess's friendship. Anna is white, Tess is Black, May is brown-skinned, and members of her gnome community vary widely in terms of skin tone. VERDICT A simple story and a sweet visual treat that promises to be an enjoyable read for both eager and hesitant beginning readers.—Emilia Packard

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Renée Kurilla
Renée Kurilla is the illustrator of many books for children, including Chicks Rule! and Chicks Rock! She is the author-illustrator of One Springy, Singy Day. Renée was a lead artist at FableVision Studios for nearly ten years. She lives just south of Boston with her family.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2022

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