Storms, Patricia

The Dog's Gardener

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Nathalie Dion. A dog starts its morning quietly, pretending to be asleep so it can hear its human call quietly, "Time to get up, Dutch." Then the two, a patchy mutt with bright eyes and perky tail and a redheaded young woman, spend the day working together in the garden. The plot is uncomplicated, the richness of the story coming from the affection between dog narrator and human companion and from their shared appreciation of the garden. Dutch uses expressive language to narrate the activities--"I roll in the dewy grass and breathe in the sweet, rich smells around me." The human clearly knows exactly what Dutch wants--a rest in the shade, a chance to sniff at new holes, and a romp in spray from the hose. "It's the bright time of year," says Dutch, and from the gorgeous front endpapers to the book's close Dion uses vivid greens and yellows to create that brightness. The scenes have the texture of chalk drawings, with smudges and lines blurring into the blooms on a tree, the indistinct edges of grass, and flowers crowding the garden walkways. This is a lovely celebration of a simple, perfect summer day shared between friends.


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