Friday, May 22, 2015

PPBF: Lily's Victory Garden

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Lily's Victory Garden,
by Helen Wilbur and Robert Steele
Lily's Victory Garden
Written by Helen L. Wilbur
Illustrated by Robert Gantt Steele
Sleeping Bear Press, 2010
Grade 1-4, Reading level 5.3, 2017 words

Themes:
History, Affecting Others, War

Opening:
"My brother Jack and I go every Saturday to collect tin cans and scrap for the war effort. We also pick up the full cans of grease the army uses to make bombs and bullets. Although how they make bullets out of bacon drippings, I have never figured out."

Synopsis:
Part of the Tales of Young Americans Series. Lilly and her brother are doing what they can for the war effort. But now President Roosevelt has asked Americans to plant victory gardens. Lily is too young to have a piece of the community garden, so she gets permission to plant in her neighbor's yard. Mrs. Bishop is still grieving the loss of her son, the first soldier in town to die. As the vegetables grow stronger so does the bond between Mrs. Bishop and Lily. Two pages of historical back-matter further explain shortages, recycling, and life during World War II.


What I Love:
This picture book shows how one person can make a difference, even if that person is a child. Set against the backdrop of war, this book informs readers about the recycling efforts of stateside Americans, specifically the Victory Garden movement. But it also shows kids they can effect change in their community. They can be a part of the solution to a problem much bigger than themselves. In so doing, they may find the power to change individual lives for the better. A text sprinkled with historical details and lush, realistic illustrations make this book both beautiful and informative.


Bonus: 
Painted rocks as garden markers
1. Visit the National WW II Museum to learn about life in America in the 1940's and Victory Gardens in particular.
2. Read the original Victory Garden Handbook from 1940 and start your own community garden project.
3. Visit Wessels's Living History Farm in York, Nebraska or Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston, MA.
4. Kids can grow their own vegetables with the 7 easiest plants to grow from Inhabitots and 10 kid-friendly gardening tips from the American Community Gardening Association.
5. Paint these terrific garden markers from Crafts By Amanda.
6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Jarm
Reviewed by Patricia

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by S. N. Taylor

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!
Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for May 22, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

18 comments:

  1. These war can feel so distant for a child, this sort of picture book can go a long way in making this history more real. And a great message of the impact a child can have!

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    1. I've always appreciated how much the civilians sacrificed during the war. We could use a lot more of that selflessness now. Thanks.

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  2. Wow, a 2000-word picture book! This sounds like a wonderful story of empowerment and connection with those around us.

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    1. Yes! When I first flipped through the pages, I thought it might be a slog, but the writer did an excellent job with the narrative. I suspect the word count might include the back-matter, which is relatively short compared to some nf today.

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  3. This book intrigues me. My husband talks about planting a Victory Garden as a child and how the community came together to support the war effort. This is such a beautiful book to help kids understand the power of community in the 1940s . Today, kids support the war by writing letters to soldiers and sending care packages.

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    1. What interesting stories he must have! My mom talks about girls who used to draw lines up the back of their legs (for the seams) instead of wearing nylons and she once dated a guy who saw the planes fly over during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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  4. Love this book, Joanne..and your activities are incredible. The painted rocks for the garden are a project I will plan to do with my grandson during the June week when he attends 'grammy camp'.

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  5. Glad you found and shared a book on victory gardens! So important that we remember! Love the markers idea - may have to make some asap!

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    1. My garden is a wreck right now. This book was a good reminder to get back on track! Thanks.

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  6. What a beautiful book and a lovely idea. We celebrated 100years of the ANZAC on Gillipoli in April of the Australian and New Zealand Army landings. This makes an excellent addition. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Really? That's so cool. We need more books about everyone's efforts.

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  7. Love the idea behind this book. There seems always a need for good picture books that children can relate to about war. I also liked your garden marker find...want to make some of these!

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    1. Me too! Of course, I have some serious weeding to do first. Sigh. Thanks for your comments.

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  8. What a wonderful book - and what great activities you've found. I love the stone garden markers.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! I hope you enjoy sharing this with your favorite young readers.

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  9. What a great way to make the Home Front real for kids and you include terrific activities. Thanks! Just might be motivated to add some veggies to my flowers!

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  10. Thank-you. I wish I had my mom's green thumb.

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Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!