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Cynthia Platt / Olivia Holden

A young girl's seed of an idea to clean up an abandoned inner city lot grows into something big when neighbors to work together to create a garden full of color and life.

retail your price $17.99



A young girl's seed of an idea to clean up an abandoned inner city lot grows into something big when neighbors to work together to create a garden full of color and life.



Complete Series of 1: your price $17.99

  • Binding: Trade hardcover

  • Pages: 32

  • Trim Size: 9.25" x 8.25"

February 15, 2018

“A girl and her neighborhood band together to bring a little color to a drab city in Platt and Holden's hopeful picture book.In the bustling city, there is a vacant lot full of dreary weeds, litter, and not much else. Walking near the lot one day, a girl comes up with 'a little seed of an idea.' The girl soon gets to work, pulling out weeds and cultivating the soil. Her actions, meanwhile, attract the attention of others. Neighbors join in to assist the girl, and the merry group clears the lot and enjoys their time together as seasons come and go. In her picture-book debut, Holden crafts a sequence of lovely pastel pictures, which convey the narrative in snapshots. The nondescript city stirs with typical city life that fades to the background as the neighborhood project grows. Plain and direct, Platt's text offers platitudes wrapped in a wistful tone brimming with earnestness. At times, the text is too gentle to transcend the page, although it delivers enough zest to suggest optimism. The book's message surfaces more clearly through the community—diverse in skin color, physical ability, age, and body size—depicted in the illustrations. The girl who acts as catalyst has dark skin and long, black hair. With the lot cleared, the girl and her neighbors plant seeds. Before long, a garden blooms in the once-empty lot, and a community comes together to celebrate. A buoyant read to sweeten the spirit. ”

Forward Reviews,
March/April 2018

“A drab concrete cityscape gets a much-needed infusion of new life when a local girl decides to transform an abandoned lot into a community park and garden. She starts out with just one seed and a small idea; others soon take notice and excitement builds. Soft rainbow shades slowly appear in an uplifting tale that blossoms with a bit of water, sunshine, and the hopeful magic that grows with flourishing blossoms and cheerful hearts.”—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

School Library Journal,
April 1, 2018

“Is it possible for one child to make a difference? The book opens with a girl and her tiny germ of an idea to transform an overgrown vacant city lot into a beautiful garden park. Once children see her pulling weeds and turning soil, they join in and help. From there, readers witness more and more people come together. This is a great story about a young person with an ambitious idea and a community working together to accomplish something for all to enjoy. The text is spare, but the illustrations assist in telling the story. The background consists of typical city life with cars and busses lining the streets and people heading toward their destinations. Most of the skyline is a mix of gray and brown, while the main character wears a peachy colored shirt that immediately sets her apart. As more people arrive to help, the landscape becomes brighter and more colorful. The artwork shows people of different races, ages, and various physical abilities. VERDICT This is a simple book with a powerful lesson. A solid read-aloud and a great lead-in to group projects.”—Barbara Spiri

Through The Looking Glass Children's Book Review,
July 2018

“One day a girl is walking past an open lot in her city when she gets an idea. It is only “a little seed of an idea,” but it has the potential to become a lot more. She gathers together some supplies and then comes to the open lot and gets to work digging up weeds. Soon she is joined by other people who bring gardening tools with them. Her little idea begins to grow, just like a little seed grows into a plant. More and more people join the effort, and it isn’t long before people are coming to the cleaned up open space, which is starting to look rather like a park now, to gather and socialize as well as to work. Sometimes one idea leads to another idea and this is just what happens in this instance. After they have cleared up the space, the people decide to take the next step. The workers sow seeds, water them, and together they make something wonderful happen. Children often think that they are too little or too young to make a difference in this world. The good news is that this is not true. At all. Everybody is capable of coming up with a good idea that makes the world a better place. In this wonderful picture book children will see how a small, modest idea becomes something big and beautiful. Not only is an empty city lot transformed, but a community comes together for the best of reasons.”—Marya Jansen-Gruber

The Tiny Activist,
December 2020

“I’m a sucker for a community garden story, and Grow is an adorable rendition of one. A young girl sees an abandoned lot in her city and decides to plant a packet of seeds there. Slowly, more people catch on and join her. In a community effort, the lot is transformed into a usable and beautiful space in the community for everyone to gather! The prose in this book is simple and beautiful, and the illustrations perfectly match the text. I actually really love the serene smile on the main character’s face for the entire story. She seems to be happy working by herself, and happy to be joined by others. When the project is completed, she’s surrounded by neighbors that she’s inspired to help create the garden. It’s a lovely example of how a person of any age can inspire creative action in their community, and be the catalyst for cooperation to create beauty that is for the public, just for the sake of beauty. There aren’t any profits to be made or gatekeeping of certain folks out of the space, it was created for everyone happily and for the love of spending time outdoors.”—Corrie Locke-Hardy