In the Garden: Explore and Discover the New Zealand Backyard

In the Garden is a beautifully illustrated and educational book. Toddlers through to school-aged kids will enjoy this detailed book. Buy now from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cwnitB (affiliate link)

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My boys and I spend a lot of time in our garden. Especially since November when we purchased our rural acre. I love that both boys tend to relax more outdoors, regardless of weather, or whether I think they are wearing enough clothes.

I grew up with gardening parents, but I never paid much attention to the details of growing. So it’s been a journey figuring out what is actually growing here intentionally, and which plants are uninvited guests. In my quest to raise children who are more educated than myself, I have been on the hunt for some good plant/insect/bird books. I now have a great set of classification books by  Andrew Crowe. But while those are great reference books, and the Young Engineer with his factual mind can look at them for hours, my story craving needs are not met by them.

In my quest to raise children who are more educated than myself, I have been on the hunt for some good plant/insect/bird books. I now have a great set of classification books by  Andrew Crowe. But while those are great reference books, and the Young Engineer with his factual mind can look at them for hours, my story craving needs are not met by them.

So I was delighted when I first found this series. We now own In the Garden, Under the Ocean and At the Beach. There are also two more in the series, In the Bush, and From Moa to Dinosaurs.

In The Garden
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Summary

A great kiwi book to learn about the small creatures that share our gardens with us. Beautiful, detailed illustrations, interesting facts. Great for reading a few pages at a time to preschoolers, or spending some quality time with primary school aged kids.

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In The Garden is my favourite, and now living the furthest inland that I ever have, the coast focused books are like holiday reading for us (lovely to have a book about the “beach” not the “seasfantailhore”). Our own garden is a very local spot that my boys can easily identify with. Every time Action Man spots the fantail in the book, he says, “there’s my special friend.” There are several fantails living here that love to follow him around, as he is so good at disturbing the little insects they eat.

This book has beautifully detailed illustrations, by Ned Barraud who also works for Weta Workshops. There are two type of pages within the book. The garden background pages showing many NZ creatures just getting on with life, in spring, in summer and at night. Then there are the same creatures drawn in close up, with specific information about each of them. These pages are still presented in a way that reading aloud isn’t tiresome.

In saying that, the Young Engineer, at age 5, has a pretty good attention span for facts, so he would want me to read him the whole book, time allowing. If I’m reading these books to Action Man we tend to choose a few pages and let him point to things to learn about. I’m ok with this, as it means there is such a lot of quality content in the books that they will hold interest for years to come. I would imagine that these books would still be appealing to most 8-9 year-olds too.

From the kids’ perspective, In the Garden is not generally the first book they will choose, I assume because boring truck books have brighter colours. But whenever it comes off the bookshelf, it tends to stay off for some days, as it is picked up again and again.hedgehog

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