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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
This was an exciting day for Calla. Every year, her town has a musical showcase: garden plots in the community gardens that create music. Flowers are planted on a musical staff and, when complete, the flowers sing their own magical tunes. Calla has worked with her family every year, but this year, like so many of her friends, she wants to create her own song garden. The only thing is, once presented with her garden plot, her mind goes blank. She wanders around and studies the other song gardens and becomes increasingly more discouraged. She so wanted hers to be perfect, to be the best. Now she has nothing to show for it and only an hour left before the judging begins. She approaches her mother, worried that her younger brother might be making a mess of the family song garden. But her mother isn’t worried. She shares some profound words: “The best part of creating something all your own: there are no wrong answers.” So true.
Vicky Weber’s picture book story, The Song Garden, is a musical garden treasure. Flowers really do sing, not just in this charming story. The plot is well constructed and each garden plot, a plot of its own with its treble cleff and musical staff, is musically inspirational. The colorful illustrations help carry the story along and young readers will be inspired by Calla’s learning curve and the profound words of wisdom from her mother: “There are no wrong answers.” Young people (old people as well) have to learn that it’s important to try, to be creative and not to worry about getting something wrong. This is difficult to do in a society that expects perfection without errors. The story will also encourage young readers to show an interest in music and, more specifically, musical composition, where the beauty of sounds is like a beautiful garden. As a retired music teacher with a passion for gardening, this story spoke to my heart. Loved it.