In this lovely tale of gardens and friendship, a young narrator named Laurel observes Honey, her neighbor with a green thumb. Laurel enjoys handouts of tiny carrots and juicy, yellow tomatoes, watches through her window when Honey digs in the rain and sometimes joins Honey for a nighttime picnic.
But when Honey must sell her house, Laurel experiences the sadness of losing a friend. Not only that, she realizes Honey won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of all her hard work. Honey assures her that’s just fine. And if the new owners add something, “the garden will keep going . . . maybe forever.”
When the new neighbors, who know nothing about gardens, move in, Laurel is ready. She transitions from observing to acting, using all she learned from Honey to keep the garden growing.
Author Laurel Snyder’s gentle, lyrical text is brought to vivid life by Samantha Cotterill’s exuberant illustrations, which capture the joy of gardening and the growing friendship between a child and her neighbor. In a helpful author’s note, Snyder explains that The Forever Garden is based loosely on a Talmudic story. “I love the idea that people are gardens too,” she writes, “and that they bear the fruit tended by many generations of gardeners.” This is the perfect book to welcome spring, reminding us to tend not only gardens but also the friendships we treasure.
Deborah Hopkinson lives near Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book for young readers is A Letter to My Teacher.