Badger’s Perfect Garden by Marsha Diane Arnold

Badger’s Perfect Garden by Marsha Diane Arnold
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It’s springtime and Badger is ready to plant the perfect garden. He has spent months gathering and sorting seeds. It’s been a lot of work but it’s worth it. His friends Red Squirrel, Dormouse, and Weasel come to help. They weed. They rake. And finally they plant. Afterward, everyone celebrates, and Badger can already imagine the perfect rows of flowers and vegetables. But then a rainstorm comes and washes away the beautiful seeds. Badger’s perfect garden is ruined. Or is it? Author Marsha Diane Arnold’s gentle story will encourage young readers to think beyond plans and expectations and imagine the wonderful possibilities that may occur when life and nature have other ideas.

Life is full of surprises.

I loved this picture book’s messages about being open to change and making the best of hard situations. Planning ahead and working hard are important, but they can’t guarantee that anything will turn out the way you hope it will. Sometimes all a badger, or a person, can do is go along with a sudden turn of events and see what happens next. That sort of flexibility is important for everyone, and I enjoyed the author’s take on one way to do it.

It would have been helpful to have a better flow to the storyline. The message of it was clear, but there wasn’t a lot of time to develop the characters or give the plot a chance to flourish. It had good bones, but there was so much more the author could have done with this piece. I would have happily chosen a higher rating if she’d added a few more layers to the writing to give the characters and plot some more depth.

Badger’s relationships with his friends were another highlight for me. They all cared about each other quite a bit, and it was heartwarming to see how they supported and encouraged Badger after his garden was washed away in a heavy thunderstorm. That’s exactly the sort of friend everyone should have when they’re struggling! Not every problem has an easy solution, but sticking with someone who is having a hard time can make that experience a better one for them.

Badger’s Perfect Garden made me smile.

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