Spring Pick: Mortimer’s First Graden by Karma Wilson
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (February 24, 2009)
What to expect: Gardening and Mice
Don’t you just love the smell of Spring? I do. Every house I stroll pass on my morning walk for preschool drop-off is landscaped with different flowers. Almost every step and breath allows me to inhale a different and intoxicating bouquet, all of them sending me into a zen-like-state so that I almost don’t notice any snotty noses, leg clinging, or tearful goodbyes. By the time I reach home again, I am reminded that I may just be spending a little too much time on my computer, and not enough time in my garden. Where are all the flowers?!
So you will be happy to know that today, after reading Mortimer’s First Garden to my three-year-old, we planted our first flower seeds together, sunflower seeds to be exact. You see, Mortimer is a mouse who is tired of the winter and the “brownness” it brings. But desperate to see something green, when he overhears some children planning to plant some seeds, Mortimer decides to plant his very last sunflower seed. He plants, waters, and weeds until a wonderful story of patience, God’s help, and the miracle of nature unfolds. Dan Andreasen’s use of color in the illustrations creates a warming effect in all of the right places, and Karma Wilson’s smooth bestselling writing skills (I hope you have had the opportunity to read Bear Snores On) make this a good choice for spring.
Excerpt from the book:
In the morning Mortimer woke up to…
pitter, patter, pat, pat.
“Rain!” groaned Mortimer. Out in his garden he found…
brown, soggy dirt.
Mortimer stomped his paw. “Nothing! I knew the miracle wouldn’t happen.”
“I’m going to dig my seed back up and eat it!” Mortimer said. But then he stopped. “Maybe some miracles need more time.”
He looked up at the sky, and down to his seed. “Please grow and turn green,” he said.
Activity: I highly recommend the activity of planting seeds to gain the full effect of this book — perhaps try it in the classroom.I’ll keep you updated with photographs of what I am officially calling “Project Mortimer”.
The seed is best sown in March-April. Push the seeds into the compost to about half the compost depth and gently firm down. Put the pot on a small saucer, cover with a clear plastic bag and keep in a warm place out of strong sun. Keep the compost moist at all times.
I hope you will share pictures and updates with us of your own “Project Mortimer”. Or maybe you just want to share some other spring story-time activities with us?
Add this book to your collection: Mortimer’s First Garden
Link: Journal Now has a fun little list of some other spring time books.