Tracey Corderoy's The Magical Snow Garden
illustrated by Jane Chapman
Book review by Tassa Dimitropoulos
The story begins in an already magical world in an environment people often find enchanting: Antarctica.
The first page hooks you as it lays out the irony of the main character Wellington's wish: to grow a garden in this frozen land.
And here's something I love: Wellington is inspired by a book and doesn't hesitate to state his desire.
On the second page, we encounter, as anyone would, the voice of conformity as Wellington's friend Percy says "That's impossible!"
We all have these people in our lives. As an adult I relate to this moment so well, as I'm forever coming up with ideas someone else tells me won't work!
Luckily, Wellington has a friend on his side, and soon enough he finds a way to make his garden.
You'll find Wellington's joy at creating his arty garden addictive.
I love how he thinks outside the box and uses the momentum borne of his enthusiasm to get his project going.
And you know what?... his garden really looks amazing in its own unique way.
Then the story takes a twist, and Wellington's garden is destroyed.
This is a great point to engage children in a discussion about emotions. The picture of Wellington discovering what has happened to his creation is a little heartbreaking but a great reminder that things don't always go according to plan, and that sometimes the path to success is longer than you first think.
With the nudge of his trusty friend Rosemary, Wellington's fire is re-lit and he begins a new garden, this time with help from his friends and some extra features to keep it safe.
The language of the book is perfect for the 2-5 age range with some good vocabulary woven in.
The illustrations are stunning. The shapes in the garden resemble candy and fun fairs and a myriad of colours that really work beautifully together.
A gorgeous picture book, The Magical Snow Garden reminds us to think creatively and not to give up on our dreams. I could sure take a leaf from Wellington's book!
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