The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

The little gardener works tirelessly. He devotes his life to the care of the garden he lives in, and creatures he lives with. His garden is failing, though, and they are all at risk of being left homeless and without any food to eat. His one beacon of hope is a glorious flower which stands tall and proud above the otherwise wild and increasingly slug-ridden landscape. The flower gives the little gardener faith in a better tomorrow, the courage to soldier on.

In the end, the little gardener can not keep up with the never-ending amount of work required to keep his garden alive. He wishes for help one night and then retires for a long sleep. While he sleeps, a girl discovers the special flower and feels a rush of inspiration. She takes over work in the garden, and under her care, the garden flourishes. The little gardener wakes to a lush, verdant home populated with berries, flowers and cheerful earthworms. His life has been transformed by his willingness to ask for help and the response offered by the universe.

It is a difficult message to deliver that sometimes — no matter how hard you work or how much you want something to work– you will need a little help (maybe even a lot of help) especially when you are little. The Little Gardener, though, delivers this message well. The book makes it very clear to children that, though you may need to ask for help, it doesn’t mean you haven’t worked your hardest; there is merit in toil and inspiration in persistence. A beautifully illustrated, gentle book for bedtime.

About Stephanie Cummings

Stephanie Cummings is a former BBC Journalist sharing her lifetime love of children's literature and illustration with her two young daughters -- and now with you, too, through Two in a Tepee. Stephanie has an academic background at the undergraduate level in literature and has master's degrees in both anthropology (material and visual culture) and design. She started her professional life in an art gallery and ended up producing radio programmes for BBC Radio 4, before deciding to become a stay at home mum. She lives with her handsome husband (who is sometimes invited into the tepee) in leafy north London.

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