Young readers will find inspiration and tips for starting their own garden in Garden Wonders, which addresses the different elements a novice gardener will need to consider. It literally begins from the ground up, starting with all the components of soil and introducing the idea of adding nutrition to it to give plants a good foundation for growth. Then, we learn about seeds and all the tools that are needed to plant them in the garden; Grindler even includes a diagram that shows the process of planting a seedling into the ground. Instructions for watering and dealing with common pests follow, as well as tips for how to attract pollinators and choose which plants to grow together.
This is a sweet idea for a book, and the beautifully detailed illustrations convey a love of gardening and have a fun, playful quality that should get kids excited about the subject. The cross-sections of soil and labels of garden pests are especially charming, and all the small details capture the imagination. Much of the information in the book is solid from a gardening point of view, especially the sections on soil health, tending to plants, and companion planting.
That said, some of the plants named throughout the book, such as foxglove and sweet peas, seem odd choices to suggest to young gardeners as they are toxic. There are many other, safer options to choose from, which would make more sense if the book is to be used as a guide for children.
Overall, Garden Wonders should definitely be read more as an inspirational text than an explicit how-to guide. As such, it’s sure to encourage kids to go outdoors and get their hands in the soil. They will definitely need an adult with more knowledge and experience to help them, but instilling an interest and passion for gardening in the first place is a value that cannot be understated.