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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Johnny keeps mostly to himself because he doesn’t share the same interests as many kids his age. The World in Johnny’s Back Garden by Kurt Chambers is a wonderful story for children and middle schoolers that looks at the world through Johnny’s eyes – eyes that are especially tuned into nature. Johnny doesn’t realize that he has this particular ability until after an accident that leaves him unconscious.
When Johnny visits the old woman next door to offer his help with her garden, he discovers someone who understands him and his love of all things alive and growing. Maisie offers him some books that had belonged to her husband, and the next thing Johnny knows, he’s in the hospital. From that point on, he hears and sees things differently and his life changes. The only problem is that Johnny’s not sure if he is losing his mind. Even his relationship with the school bully takes a strange turn that really confuses Johnny. Things finally become clear, though, when the real monster comes and Johnny can tell for sure that he has a special gift.
For a unique and delightful children’s story that actually tackles some tough issues, The World in Johnny’s Back Garden by Kurt Chambers is perfect. The themes of differences between people, bullying, dealing with the elderly, and just being an individual are all blended together as Johnny tries to figure out his outlook on life. Well written and paced just right, The World in Johnny’s Back Garden is a brilliant introduction to the wonders of nature all around us, as well as a thoughtful look at the people in our lives. Great story with plenty of imagination as well as real-world issues.