Our Winning Book Synopsis
The 2015 Giverny Award-winning book follows a young girl, her grandmother, and their garden throughout the year.
The story begins with Spring and planting of seeds. The reader follows the girl and her Nana as they clear their garden and ready the soil. As Messner weaves seasonal changes within the story, Neal’s illustrations effectively document botanical events, light levels, and the ecosystem—including the appropriate clothing for both Nana and her granddaughter. Food webs and cycles of birth and death are described within the growing plants of Summer, a harvest in Autumn, and finally, hibernation in Winter.
Not only are the events above the ground and in the garden described, but Messner and Neal also weave events within the story and artwork to showcase the somewhat hidden world below the ground and down in the dirt. Messner’s and Neal’s book is especially appropriate as the 2015 Giverny winner, since 2015 is designated as the International Year of Soils.
The Giverny Committee thinks that everyone in the age-band (ages 4 to 8) of children’s science picture books will enjoy the story, artwork, and science of Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. This winning book followed another successful Messner-Neal book, Over and Under the Snow. The Giverny Committee is looking forward to their next collaborative children’s science picture book!