HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner | Book Review
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner Book Review

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | April 19, 2017

Up in the Garden and Down in the DirtUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Written by Kate Messner

Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Age Range: 5 – 8 years

Hardcover: 52 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books (2015)

ISBN-13: 978-1452119366

What to expect: Gardening, Critters, Dirt, Exploration, Nature

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt is a wonderful story to share with your child as we wave goodbye to winter and welcome spring.

As the snow melts away, a little girl helps her Nana prepare the garden beds. The little girl’s curiosity leads her to question what is beneath the soil. While earthworms are below the soil stirring things up, the young girl and her Nana pull up weeds in the garden. As the spring turns to summer, the little girl watches as sprouts turn into tasty treats like crunchy green beans and juicy tomatoes. As the summer fades into fall, the little girl learns about new and different critters underneath the dirt preparing for winter. The story comes to a close as the little girl’s grandpa calls her inside to enjoy a warm bowl of soup, likely prepared from their fall harvest. This story is an engaging exploration of the natural world.

Author Kate Messner will have your child wondering what lies beneath the mysterious garden soil in their backyard. The charming illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal do a lovely job of depicting the life of critters both above and beneath the garden. The evocative illustrations will take you back to your childhood and likely bring back pleasant gardening memories.


Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt is sure to bring joy to readers of all ages. As an extra bonus, this book includes additional learning opportunities with fun facts on each of the critters mentioned in this story and suggestions for further reading to keep your child’s curiosity growing. This captivating story is highly recommended as you begin preparing your garden beds for the new planting season.

Available Here: 

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About Kate Messner

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of Over and Under the Snow, Sea Monster’s First Day, Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish, and more than a dozen other books for young readers. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her family.

About Christopher Silas Neal

Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning illustrator whose work is published regularly in the New York Times and shown in galleries. He teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner, was reviewed by Jillian Sciacca. Discover more books like Bunny Slopes by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with   and 

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Jill Sciacca, M.S. Ed (Early Childhood Reading and Literacy), has spent time teaching preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade. She currently is a faculty member at the University of Phoenix where she teaches for the College of Humanities and Sciences, as well as the College of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two-year-old daughter Gianna and her husband, Jack. Jill also loves a good adventure and can often be found skiing at Monarch Mountain. She was born and raised in Colorado and has no plans to leave. You can follow Jill on Twitter @jillian_sciacca and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/Jillian-Sciacca).

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