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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Gardens are truly magical. There’s so much to see and do in a garden and it’s full of life and imagination. Ray loves being with her Grandpa. There’s a special garden in the back which Grandma once tended, but she’s in heaven, now, and the garden has become overgrown with weeds. Grandpa warns Ray not to go into the garden because she might hurt herself. When Grandpa’s not looking, Ray, ever inquisitive, sneaks into the thickness of the overgrown garden. Much like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s secret garden, this one is just waiting to be brought back to life. Ray meets a talking apple tree, a talking pear tree, a talking mouse and so much more. Yes, she’s found some serious magic in this garden. If only she can convince Grandpa to help her clean it up and bring it back to its former glory, its true magical beauty.
Claire Carey’s picture book, Grandpa’s Magic Garden, is a magical treasure to be enjoyed many times over. The plot follows Ray’s inquisitive exploration of her grandmother’s overgrown garden and the surprises she encounters when magical things start to happen. The plot may be simple and the magic may be imagination, but the power of the love Ray shares with her grandfather is beyond magical and they bond more deeply as they resurrect Grandma’s greatest accomplishment. The story is sweet, gentle, and full of life. India Danter’s illustrations are spectacular and add a deeper dimension to the simple plot. This is a story to be shared with someone special, perhaps a grandparent who just happens to have a magical garden as well.