Jul 13, 2014

The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown

One day a little boy is exploring his dreary, gray city when he finds access to an abandoned elevated railway. There are a few weeds and wildflowers growing up there. The boy starts to water and prune them, and the plants begin to thrive and spread. Eventually they grow across the entire railway. When winter comes the boy can't visit his garden anymore, but he does research- reading gardening books! In spring he starts tending to the plants again. They spread further into the city, and other people become inspired to garden as well. Before long there are rooftop and hellstrip gardens all over the place; topiary animals, treehouses and twining ivy climbing up walls. The illustrations are really lovely. The endpapers show before and after: at the front of the book you see a spread of the gray cityscape, at the back it's all green rooftops. If you look close in that final picture, you can find the little spot on the elevated where it all began. The afterward says this story is based on an abandoned elevated in Manhattan that became a garden space. Awesome. It all reminds me very much of Extra Yarn- the spread of color and liveliness through a dreary town. There's a good message here, too, about learning and leading by example. This boy didn't know anything about gardening when he found the plants, but he tried things and eventually succeeded. And others followed suit. Like Seedfolks, too.
I found this book at the public library.

Rating: 4/5        36 pages, 2009

more opinions:
Jen Robinson's Book Page
Help Readers Love Reading


  1. I've been on the High Line in New York so this sounds good to me. The illustrations are gorgeous!

  2. What a delightful book!

  3. Bermudaonion- that's the railway that inspired the book!

    Stefanie- it really is. I think I want to own it now.


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