A garden can bring worry -- even for the First Lady. "What if the seeds or seedlings were not set in correctly and we ended up with empty beds? What if we couldn't control the weeds?" said Michele Obama when she was reflecting on the White House Garden project. (nola.com). In addition to worry, a garden can also bring lots of work -- the preparation and the WEEDS...the maintenance and the WEEDS! Many families would say that it isn't worth it and would rather buy their produce at the local farmer's market or grocery store. However, consider what Edith Hope Fine and her co-author, Angela Demos Halpin, learned while making school visits for their book Water, Weed and Wait, "We've been startled at how little the kids we've meet seem to know about how things grow. Few youngsters could tell a lima bean seed from a radish seed." (Writing on the Sidewalk). Michele Obama remarked that the White House garden became a "learning garden". Maybe the dirty hands and feet, the sweating in the heat, and the sore arms and legs are worth it. Worth it not just for the delicious vegetables but also for what a family can learn together.
Edith Hope Fine has published sixteen books including many picture books, biographies, and education books. Some of her more popular titles include Cryptomania: Teleporting into Greek and Latin with the Cryptokids, Armando and the Blue Tarp School, and Under the Lemon Moon. She is a former teacher and loves to return to schools for author visits to interact with children. She shared in an interview with BlogZone, "I like to wrap up my presentations by reviewing my three lives, introduced at the beginning of my talks: the regular life, the reading life, and the writing life -- because kids need adult models who are anchored in the joy of exploring words and literature."
Thankfully, we read Water, Weed, and Wait by Edith Hope Fine this week. On the first page, Miss Marigold, the garden lady says to the children in Room 9 of Pepper Lane Elementary, "Look how your seeds have grown!" She very well could have been talking about our seedlings that we planted many weeks ago. However, they were sitting on our deck waiting to be transplanted. I had all but given up hope to having a garden at our new house this year. My plan was to do a container garden, but resigning to this reality really bummed me out! We had a fabulous garden the past two years at our old house. I really missed the established garden plot and the good soil that my children and I worked so hard to attain.
Water, Weed, and Wait was just the book we needed to inspire us to experiment with an area along the side of our house. Edith Hope Fine wrote this book along with Angela Demos Halpin after a San Diego Master Gardener told them that "there were no school garden books for teachers to read to students." Edith responded with, "Aha! That perverbial 'hole on the library shelf" that writers are always looking for!" (California Readers). In this picture book, the students at Pepper Lane Elementary learn from Miss Marigold and their grumpy neighbor, Mr. Barkley how to turn an undesirable piece of school property into a something worth celebrating. - click here to read more -