Reviews for Good Garden : How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough


Booklist Reviews 2010 November #1
In rural Honduras, María Luz Duarte and her family are campesinos, farmers who eke out a subsistence from small, depleted land plots. Forced to leave the family to earn additional wages, Papa puts María in charge of the family garden. From her new teacher, María learns exciting, sustainable techniques about terracing plots, composting, and growing complementary plants, as well as selling crops directly at the market, rather than dealing with the coyote, a predatory broker who has repossessed many of the Duartes' neighbors' land. Each spread in this illuminating book begins with a title that divides the lengthy text into chapterlike sections that could be easily read aloud in installments. Daigneault's vibrant colored-pencil illustrations incorporate Latin American culture with both the details of daily life and swirls of magical realism; the nefarious coyote, for example, sports an actual coyote's head atop his human body. More about food security and sustainable farming closes this moving, informative entry in the publisher's CitizenKid line that will partner nicely with Jan Reynolds' Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life (2009). Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
In Honduras, when Marma Luz's father goes in search of work, he leaves her in charge of the floundering family farm. A new teacher gets Marma Luz to try some techniques that revive the garden, which in turn inspires other villagers. The well-meaning text is wordy. Each spread contains a full-page colored-pencil illustration, sometimes with surreal elements. Glos. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #2
It may have a loose tarsnaggle, a sticky megalad and a hole in the flyjacker, but Frazzle's Model 7 spaceship is positively flixsome. A little alien--with his one great dewy eye, he's a dear, cyclopean ant-head--gets a flyary (diary) for his dropday (birthday), which he duly fills with the joys and travails of his first spaceship. Same as it ever was: The spaceship works like a dream for a few months, then starts to give Frazzle the vapors when it starts make strange noises. Good old Wurpitz Hoolo, the whiz mechanic, assures him that Model 7s are known for their harmless, if odd boinks, piffles and ticks. Young lards the text with enough otherworldly words--noteymaker to exboom to peepered--to keep readers on their toes and to beef up what is essentially a story about remaining true to your old and trusty friends, in this case a spaceship that gradually turns from sleek sky-streaker to old jalopy ("But I still bigheart my little ‘rugger' Model 7," says Frazzle), despite the flash and dazzle of the new. Adding to the endearment factor are Martz's illustrations, as shiny and color-shot as ribbon candy, from Hoolo's classic mechanic's shop to the traffic jam on the flyway. There is much fun to be had sounding out words and guessing at their meaning and roots, as planet Harbat's jabberwocky attests. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 August #2
When the exhausted soil of their family plot doesn't yield enough and her father leaves to find work, María Luz plants the winter vegetables using new farming techniques she learns from her teacher, Don Pedro. Marigolds repel insect pests. Terracing and using compost and nutrient-fixing crops improve the soil so much that their garden can sustain her family again. This encouraging story by the author of One Hen (illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, 2008) honors the work of Honduran farmer-trainer Elías Sanchez. Full-bleed illustrations, curving lines done with colored pencil on colored paper, extend across the gutters to show María Luz, her family and neighbors at work, the threatening coyote who wants to sell their produce and take his cut and the busy market where they sell cash crops and buy seed on their own. The sun waves long arms and beams at the improvement in their lives. Though the text is not simple, the appealing design will support less able readers. Endnotes add information about food security around the world and include a glossary of Spanish words. (Picture book. 7-10) 
Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #1

Part of the CitizenKid line of books, this inspiring story uses the example of a Honduran family to explain the global plight of farmers who aren't able to feed and support themselves despite their labors. With their land past its prime and at the mercy of a predatory grain buyer (portrayed as a well-dressed coyote), María Luz Duarte and her parents fear they will lose their farm. A new teacher, however, explains how composting and terrace farming can help, eventually allowing the family to circumvent the middleman and thrive. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

Gr 3-5--When María Luz's Papa makes the tough decision to leave their hillside home in Honduras to seek employment elsewhere, he puts the girl in charge of planting and tending their winter garden. The land has taken a beating, rain has been scarce, and invading insects have taken more than their share of the meager crops. It is a big responsibility for María, but fortunately for her and her family, a new teacher has arrived at her school with fresh ideas for how to feed and restore the soil. As María applies new techniques such as terracing, composting, and companion planting, she also learns that they need not rely on the unscrupulous "coyotes" who have historically acted as loan sharks and middlemen, denying the villagers any kind of profit and independence that would help them get ahead. Taken at a literal level, this is a story of how sustainable farming practices can nourish families and the earth simultaneously. On a deeper level, it is about social justice and self-sustaining economies, which make this a book that can span a broader interest level. The stylized colored-pencil artwork is appropriately lush and idealized. The "coyotes" are literally depicted as men with animal heads. The book concludes with information about the real families and teacher behind this story, as well as resources and suggestions for getting involved in gardening or supporting worldwide food security.--Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID

[Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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