by Katie Smith Milway, Illustrated by Silvie Daigneault

Kids Can Press, $18.95, 32 pages

The concept of green, is all too like a threat to children. There’s an overtone of punishment when they mix trash and garbage or complain about the malodorous compost heap near the backyard baseball pitch. But green becomes meaningful when explained in the ideal setting of The Good Garden, a lesson taught and understood in an ideal setting.

Maria Luz Duarte and her family live in an impoverished Honduran village, when the corn crop fails her father leaves to seek work far away. The new schoolteacher, like a guiding light, shows how to improve crops by utilizing the resources available to all. Maria Luz takes her new understanding to the villagers.

Not merely a charming fable based on a personal memory, Katie Smith Milway‘s gentle text simplifies the practice of sensibly tweaking nature. Her words are matched by Sylvie Deigneault’s gracefully colored pencil drawings. The text is complemented to good effect by a Spanish/English glossary, suggestions for emulating the teacher’s instruction, and information about several organizations that tackle hunger around the world.

Reviewed by Jane Manaster