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Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard
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Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Perfect for spring planting season--an outstanding book about backyard science the whole family will appreciate.

Alice's family plants a vegetable garden each spring, and this budding naturalist reports all she sees about how the plants grow, what insects come to eat the plants, and what birds and animals come to eat the insects.  It's the food chain, right in her own backy
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published February 2012)
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Jenna Langemeier
Jun 11, 2015 Jenna Langemeier rated it really liked it
Opening Moves:

1. "The title of this book is Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard: Secrets of the Garden. (Show students the inside cover of the book.) What do we know about gardens? (children respond) That's right! We grow gardens to make food. I love gardening with my mom in the summer. We grow tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. As we read this book, I want you to think about how the plants in the garden get their food, and also think about who then eats the plants as food
1. SUMMARY – Alice narrates her experience working with her family in their backyard garden. The story endures from the beginning of spring to the beginning of winter. Each family member has a job to do that helps the garden grow. As the story progresses, we get an inside look at how all the creatures in the garden rely on each other for nutrients of some kind.
2. GENRE – This picture book is a blend of realism, illustrations, and informational text with anthropomorphic elements interspersed. A
Feb 04, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Alice loves it when spring arrives and they can start planting the garden. Her dad gets the soil ready for planting and then she and her brother start putting the seeds in. It seems like a long time before the seeds finally sprout. Then other seedlings are transplanted from pots and potatoes are sown. Lettuce and radishes are ready to eat first, and Alice spots a rabbit munching on them too. She also thinks a mouse might be eating the fallen corn. Hawks hunt in the garden and there are plenty of ...more
Kendra Wheeler
Apr 24, 2013 Kendra Wheeler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edre-4870-002

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, is a narrative book told by the character Alice. Alice talks about the processes of having a garden and the animals that live around there. This book is very educational talks about plants and the food chain that can happen in a garden.

This book uses fun illustrations that are more cartoonish then real life. The content in this book is very detailed but it is still easy enough for kids to be able to
Mar 25, 2013 Jonathon rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I chose this book in honor of spring.
This book is very educational. It goes through and talks about different plants and it has illustrations of each plant and what its sprout looks like. After going through some of the plants, it begins to talk about the food chain. It has an illustration of a plant, a mouse eating the plant, and then a hawk swooping down and eating the mouse. It gives ideas for caterpillars that eat the vegetation. The little girl in the story caught as many as she could and f
Sharon Lawler
Very simple exploration of a family's backyard garden. From the need for sun and water, to the value of composting, children will learn about the plant development from spring through fall. They will also learn about the interdependence between plants and the insects, birds, and animals. The book concludes with the family harvesting and storing the vegetables, and using the winter months to plan the next one. Even though there is a lot of information, you can use this book with many levels, from ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Christy rated it really liked it
Alfred A. Knopf (NY)
Kathleen Zoehfeld
Priscilla Lamont
30 pages
Picture Book

I was surprised at the academic depth of this picture book. The reader could choose to read the story alone, but the reader could also get an education by reading the bubbles spoken by the family or the animals that benefited from the garden. I was surprised that a picture book would explain topics such as compost, nutrients, sprouting plants, photosynthesis, energy, food chain, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, cultiv
May 06, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld address all the wonders of backyard gardening. She tells about a family planting seeds in the spring and explores various garden food chains. The text is simply but addresses fairly sophisticated ideas. I loved the page about worms! The words are laid out in the tunnels that worms dig through the earth. The pictures are an excellent complement to the text and really help clarify ideas.

Recommended as a great science text for grades 2 - 4. This is a great addition to a sc
Kate Hastings
Aug 06, 2015 Kate Hastings rated it really liked it
Grades K-5. This book can be read on different levels or used to explain different concepts for different grade levels. A backyard garden is the context for explaining how plants grow and what they need to live. Challenges are explained-- why my plant doesn't grow overnight, why critters eat the plants, poor soil, water content. Parts of plants we eat are discussed, too.

The last half of the book looks at food chains and food webs-- how different plants and animals depend on each other to survive
LaToya Hixon
This was a great book to read. I learned a lot from reading this book. This book would be great to read if your class is learning about gardens, food chains, and anything dealing with how to take care a garden. The this would also be a great book to read if you are doing a lesson in science. This book gives you a lot of secrets of the garden just like the title of the book says. the artwork went great with the story.
May 25, 2013 Peacegal rated it liked it
A pair of plucky chickens introduce young readers to the great big world inhabiting their backyard garden. The concept of food webs and the importance of every plant and animal player is introduced. Questions are brought up for discussion.

Vegan families note: While this is an overall positive book about nature, you may want to be aware that there is reference to people eating hens' eggs. A cartoon of a food web includes a child who apparently eats chickens, rabbits, and grasshoppers(!)
Read this one with my 5 year old. It was on her kindergarten summer reading list. We really enjoyed it! It does a great job of introducing the concepts of food chains and food webs in a way that was really understandable. When asked, my daughter was able to easily relate the information back to me. She really enjoyed learning about how the entire family enjoys the garden. Her favorite parts were the map of the garden and the talking chickens.
Apr 15, 2014 Bethe rated it really liked it
This author's living/nonliving book is so very accessible to even the youngest child, and this food chain book is as well. It brings food web studies right to the reader's own backyard. Love that rhubarb is mentioned as a stem we eat! Didn't know that earthworms have tiny bristles that help is stay in the earth. Very engaging and gentle food chain book.
A fact filled book about gardening, the soil and all the animals/insects involved in the growing cycle. Also a good explanation of food chains. The two chickens who give detailed explanations on each topic are my favorite characters!
May 28, 2015 Andrea rated it liked it
This book was a bit juvenile for my 3rd and 4th grade students, but the real-life examples of the food chains present in a common garden were still useful for and interesting to them. They talked about a wide variety of food chains. I think it would be great for 2nd graders.
I love gardens, all descriptions of gardens. This is a narrative of a small families garden from early spring to summer. A tad didactic, it does show preparation and planting of a garden. It might well encourage someone to start a garden and that would be quite wonderful.
Heather Jo
May 05, 2013 Heather Jo rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Miera
May 10, 2014 Jennifer Miera rated it really liked it
Loved this book, but forgot to write down the title/author and have been trying to track it down for some time. I stumbled upon the author's new book Secrets of the Seasons, recognized the illustrator's style and tracked down the gardening book. Love serendipity like that.
Shalini Noronha
Sep 25, 2013 Shalini Noronha marked it as to-read
Call Number Copy Material Location
J 577.16 ZOE BEGINNER BOOK 1 Juvenile Book Juvenile Nonfiction Collection
Mar 27, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Super book little gardeners everywhere. A combination of story and scientific facts are found with in the pages of this book. Invited illustrations, nicely organized. Would recommend with confidence.
Jun 18, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
Smart and interesting with very friendly art, this is a garden-lover's book to share and educate while being entertained by the story of a family growing their garden.
Feb 22, 2012 Shawn rated it really liked it
A picture book with a story about a family gardening and the addition of information about food chains, webs, and gardening make this book good for a variety of ages. Gr. 1-4.
Zara Younus
Grade 4-5. The flow of energy through the food web/chain.

Students can put pictures of organisms in order in which the food web flows.
A great book about the food chain happening in a family's garden during the summer. Factual text with fun speech bubbles for dialogue throughout.
Chelsey Combs
Apr 21, 2013 Chelsey Combs rated it really liked it
Shelves: spring, plants, garden
This book is very educational. It discusses different types of plants and their parts and what they need to grow.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Nice overlay of a story of a family who plants and harvests a garden with lots of garden facts and information in a very accessible format.
Melinda Garman
Recommended for 2nd-5th grade. Have your students realize that their are food webs in their own backyard.
A good introduction to gardening - not a bedtime story, since it's long. A good intro to comic books as well.
Christian Lyles
Sep 18, 2014 Christian Lyles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edrd314
This was a cool book just because of all of the things that are in a garden!
Gwen the Librarian
Gwen the Librarian rated it really liked it
Nov 07, 2012
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Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is the award-winning author of more than sixty books for children, including DINOSAUR TRACKS, "a great choice for even the most discriminating dinophiles" (School Library Journal); DID DINOSAURS HAVE FEATHERS?, a Children's Book of the Month Club selection, described as "fascinating" by Kirkus Reviews; and DINOSAURS BIG AND SMALL, a 2003 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book ...more
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