Children's gardening books

I’m been looking for some books – both factual and fiction – as a gift for a four-year-old whose parents hope to get enthused about gardening this year. So not so much books aimed at parents, but things they can read and do with the child, and perhaps some bedtime/quiet time stories along the same lines.

I couldn’t find any good reviews so I thought I’d start by including my “longlist” here – any comments would be very welcome, particularly on whether individual books would be suitable for such a young age. Many books, understandably, seem to focus on the slightly older (6-7 plus) child and I don’t want to choose anything that might put them off by being too advanced.

Fiction

Mabel’s Magical Garden – Paula Metcalf

Rosie Plants a Radish – Kate Petty

Ben Plants a Butterfly Garden – Kate Petty

How a Seed Grows (Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science: Stage 1) – Helene J. Jordan

Doing the Garden – Sarah Garland

Ten Seeds – Ruth Brown

The Bad-tempered Ladybird (Picture Puffin) – Eric Carle (I’m also keen to find “let’s love the creepy-crawlies themed books!)

Eddie’s Garden: and How to Make Things Grow – Sarah Garland

The World Came to My Place Today (Eden Project Books) – Jo Readman (slightly broader but an Eden Project book that sounds nice)

The Tiny Seed (Picture Puffin) – Eric Carle

George Saves the World by Lunchtime (Eden Project Books) – Jo Readman

The Seed I Planted (Wonderwise Readers) – MANNING MANNING AND MANNING

Let’s Grow a Garden (Lets Environment Series) – Alison Reynolds

I’m inclined to add a few classic fairytales like Jack and the Beanstalk, The Enormous Turnip, Cinderella (for the pumpkin of course!) and Rapunzel here.

Factual books (these are especially difficult to gauge suitability)

Gardening with Young Children (Early Years) – Beatrys Lockie

Gardening with Kids – Martyn Cox

The Gardening Book – Jane Bull

Grow It, Eat It – Dorling Kindersley

Grow Organic, Eat OrganicLone Morton

What Shall I Grow? (What Shall I Do Today?) – Ray Gibson

First Garden Activity Book (First Activity) – Angela Wilkes

Grow Your Own Nasturtiums (Eden Project Books) – Ley Honor Roberts (also one on sweet peas but nasturtiums are edible so they win!)

Gardening: Activities for 3-5 Year Olds (Activities for 3-5 year olds series) – Caroline Quin

Let’s Grow (Kids’ Gardening) – Parragon Book Service

With factual books I’m wary of the “garden design for children” approach; I am looking for books about growing things rather than constructing treehouses, fitting slides and the art of wedging as much brightly-coloured plastic in to your garden as possible.  Cress in eggshells, the joy of peas from the pod, and funny-shaped carrots are definitely more in the right line, so if anyone does read this and knows the perfect book along these lines please let me know!

And if I do get hold of a couple of these I’ll aim to update this page with my comments, too.

Updates to this post:

Jasper’s Beanstalk by Mick Inkpen – I found this in WHS and had a look through, although there aren’t a lot of words I could see it being a good choice for learning to read, and while I take issue with the mowing bit (!) it’s definitely one to consider. Amazon actually rates it for 4-6 year olds.

Growing Vegetables is Fun by Emma Cooper – I left it off my original list because it’s for fractionally older children, as Emma says in the comments below.  I have seen it in the shops and it looks good value, with seeds included to encourage action as well as thinking, so I thought I’d add it in here in case anyone finding this page is also after gardening books for school age children.


Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Children's gardening books

  1. Emma says:

    I saw Eddie’s Garden in a bookshop and thought it was lovely – I am considering getting it for my nieces when they’re a little bit older. I think it would be suitable for 4 year olds.

  2. MissFuggles says:

    Thanks Emma! I will definitely have a closer look at that one then.

    I realise there’s one glaring omission in the factual books list and that’s “Growing Vegetables is Fun” by, er, you (ahem). I left it out because I thought it was aimed at slightly older children, but I saw a review on the BBC Green website which suggested age 3 plus. If you think it would be appropriate I will certainly add it (not to mention try to obtain a copy) but I thought it might just be a bit challenging as yet.

    I did see both Grow it, Eat it and Grow Organic, Eat Organic in Waterstones today and they were both nice looking books, quite a friendly approach but I think the emphasis on cooking (much as I like it) was a little too strong for what I’m looking for in this case. They didn’t have anything else on my list.

    I think the next step is a trip to the library! It’s a hard life…

  3. MissFuggles says:

    Thanks Emma! On reflection I think people might find this post looking for gardening stuff for any children so I’ve added it in my “updates” list on the original post, hope you don’t mind.

  4. Debbie says:

    All the books you have listed are wonderful! We have a huge selection of interesting fact sheets and educational resources for children who want to enjoy gardening at http://www.gardeningwithchildren.co.uk. It’s all free and we’d love everyone to get growing! Any feedback on the site you have would be gratefully appreciated!

    • MissFuggles says:

      Thanks for visiting Debbie – your site looks very interesting and I’d not come across it before. I see you’ve got a couple of books on your shop section – I like the idea of the worm composting stories but might wait a year or two for challenging my recipient that far! Look forward to seeing the site develop as it’s quite new, isn’t it?

  5. Martyn Cox says:

    My new book, RHS Wildlife Garden (published on 2 March by Dorling Kindersley), would appeal to 4-10 year olds. It’s about choosing the right plants and creating habitats to attract wildlife. It’s full of lots of easy projects, such as making a frog home or buildling a mini nature reserve (in a window box). I’ve tried making many of the projects with my own children, who are 3 and 7, and they both love them. This is definitely a book for children to leaf through, rather than a text book for adults to read. Most kids will love the pics of creatures they can expect to see and the easy to follow step-by-step pics.

    If you want a more general book, with projects like growing cress egg heads, making a salad patch or making pine cone animals, try my Gardening with Kids, which was published in 2008. It was shortlisted in the Garden Media Guild awards and picked as one the Gardeners’ Question Time books of the year.

I love to hear your experiences and advice - would you like to comment on this post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s