Here’s something a little different than you typical lawn-related or green-industry related posts that I hope you enjoy … the theme is Lawn-Related Children’s Books!
Last Summer, when visiting Black River Books in South Haven, Michigan, I happened across a cute lawn-related children’s book that put a big smile on my face called We Are Growing! by Michigan Author and Illustrator, Laurie Keller, as part of the great Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series.
You can even watch a Youtube video of the author, Laurie Keller, reading We Are Growing as a part of the Adventures in Michigan kids’ summer reading program at Baker Book House — HERE IT IS!
This delightful 2016 picture book won the 2017 Theodore Seuss Geisel Medal, and follows 7 friends who happen to be blades of grass, as they have humorous adventures in growing, even as they are up against a menacing purple lawnmower. In School Library Journal, Rachel Forbes, formerly at Oakville Public Library, Ontario, Canada describes this cute book as follows:
K-Gr 2—An exciting thing is happening. The grass is growing! One blade grows tall, another grows curly, and two grow pointy. As these changes occur, the blades of grass declare what it is that makes them unique—all but one, that is. The last blade of grass has no distinguishing feature of note, and no matter how much the group wrack their brains, they can’t figure it out. Then, the great equalizer, the lawn mower, comes along. It takes this event for the blade to discover his special quality. As for the rest, even though they are literally cut down, they are reassured that they will grow again. The empowering narrative can be applied to lessons regarding things like confidence, identity, and growing up. No matter the takeaway, the message is easily consumable, thanks to exaggerated characteristics, cartoonish actions, and a good sense of comedic timing. In this new series, Willems’s popular characters share their favorite books, acting as the introductory and closing framework to the story. In this case, they have made an excellent choice. VERDICT Fans of Elephant and Piggie will devour this kooky easy reader, with its similar presentation and storytelling style.
We Are Growing! got me wondering what other kids’ books I might be able to find that are lawn-related, so here are 5 more books (of MANY that are out there) for kids of all ages that you might enjoy sharing with the young ones in your life.
The Little Mower That Could by Yvonne Jones (2016) – This picture book is a spin-off of the classic story, The Little Engine That Could. It follows a little ball that gets stuck in some tall grass who asks several different kinds of lawn mowers for help, and finally a kind green electric mower steps up to cut his way through the thick grass to help the ball. For the little mower enthusiasts in your life, Yvonne Jones weaves facts about each type of lawn mower into the story. You can check out the book trailer at www.yvonne-jones.com/trailers
Larry the Lawnmower by Jeanne Archambault and illustrated by Victoria Corey, (2014). In this Mom’s Choice Award-winning picture book, Larry is a dedicated little lawnmower, but when a big blue rider-mower replaces Larry on the farm, he is no longer needed and ends up being left in the shed until a young boy finds him and gives Larry a coat of fresh red paint so they can mow lawns together to earn money so the boy can buy a new bike. This story was inspired by Jeane Archambault’s grandson who was “crazy for lawnmowers” starting at 2 years old, and the illustrations are based on scenes at Windmist Farm in Jamestown, RI on Conanicut Island, where both the author and illustrator call home.
Lawn Mower Magic (A Stepping Stone Book) by Lynne Jonell, illustrated by Brandon Dorman. This illustrated chapter book is actually a sequel to Hamster Magic, and continues to follow the four Willow children as they have recently moved to an older home in the country. The family’s lawn mower breaks down and they can’t afford to fix or replace it, so the children dig out an older push mower that was stored in an hold tool shed. The mower doesn’t look like much, and it’s difficult to use, but it turns out that it’s been soaking up magic for years, and it’s hungry for grass. The children accidentally discover that the mower will move on its own, and the more it mows, the faster it goes. Just like what happened with the hamster in the first book in this series, there’s some type of magic happening.
Louie the Lawnmower series by Maria I. Morgan, illustrated by Sherrie Molitor. In this series of 3 picture books written by Christian inspirational writer and speaker, Maria I. Morgan, Louie is a bright red lawnmower who previously lived with this friends at a hardware store. Louie’s BIG Day! (2014), Louie & the Leaf Pile (2015), and Louie to the Rescue: The Big Dig (2017) are fun, cute, simple stories that don’t overtly talk about God or Christianity, but the themes and life lessons like sticking up for your friends, getting to know a person without judgement, and being careful with your words are ones that the author feels helps her to “share God’s truth and make an eternal difference.” Any of these 3 books can be read as a standalone story.
Lawn Boy (2009) and Lawn Boy Returns (2011) by Gary Paulsen. Gary Paulsen is one of America’s most popular writers for young adults, and has written more than 200 excellent books for young adults. His his 5 book Hatchet series is especially well-known. Lawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns are short light-hearted chapter books that tell about the comical slapstick adventures that unfold when a 12 year old unnamed narrator who is broke and decides to earn some money by using his Grandfather’s old riding lawn mower that he received as a birthday gift. When one of the boy’s customers, a persuasive day-trader Arnold Howell, barters mowing services for market investing advice on how to make money, humorous and increasingly complex economic adventures unfold as the business expands into an empire. Paulsen gives young readers a thorough yet entertaining crash course in basic economics and business concepts, such as the stock market and the changing needs of growing business enterprises through the lens of a lawn mowing business.
– Lisa, and the Crew at Red Hen Turf Farm