An instant classic, The Gardener is a Caldecott Honor Book. The story is comprised entirely on letters written by a young girl. In the beginning, Lydia Grace addresses her letters to her uncle, who owns a bakery in the big city. She is going to live with him while her father looks for work during the Depression. Then her letters are written to her family that she left behind describing her new life in the city with a grumpy uncle, who she is trying to make smile.
In spite of the circumstances, Lydia Grace’s letters stay upbeat throughout the book. She begins planting seeds from her family back home and soon becomes the bakery’s celebrity. She is renamed “The Gardener”. On the 4th of July (get why I talked about this book this week!) she reveals a marvelous secret place she has been working on to get her uncle to smile.
Speech Therapy Ideas:
1. Practice beginning /l/ sounds. “Lydia” is on every page. Although I’ve written about books with more /l/ sounds, this one isn’t bad for reinforcement. Remember to sit with your child in front of a mirror, and tell them to touch their tongue tip just behind their teeth with an open mouth.
2. Describe the pictures. What changes in the pictures over the book.
3. What does Lydia Grace do to brighten up her uncle’s building. Why does she use cups, bowls, etc?
4. What is Lydia Grace’s big plan? How did she plan for this?
5. Dictate a pretend letter to a far away relative. What would you tell them? How would you begin and end the letter?