The Gardner by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small is a unique picture book. The entire story consists of letters written by Lydia Grace Finch during the Great Depression, accompanied by beautiful pictures which really help tell the story.
The first couple of letters are to her Uncle Jim, to whom her family is sending her until “things get better.” Uncle Jim is a baker and Lydia Grace knows nothing about baking. But she does know a lot about gardening.
Uncle Jim does not smile, but Lydia Grace is working on him. Meanwhile, her presence brightens his apartment and his bakery. And Lydia Grace is working hard on a secret place, hoping to get a smile out of Uncle Jim.
I really like this story of a little girl going through difficult times, but making the most of it. And the picture at the end of the book, as she prepares to return home shows the transformation she’s wrought in her uncle. I encourage you to enjoy this sweet story with children in your life – especially if they’re studying the Great Depression. We can all learn from Lydia Grace’s example of not letting hard times ruin our attitude.