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On the Other Side of the Garden

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  246 ratings  ·  55 reviews
From one of the great creative teams in picture books, On the Other Side of the Garden is about a city girl learning to accept the change brought about by her parents’ separation when she is taken to her grandmother’s house in the country and befriended by an owl, a frog and a mouse.

When her father leaves her at her grandmother’s house, the young girl at the center of this
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Groundwood Books
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  246 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I give this 3 stars for the story, felt a little stilted, and 4 stars for the illustrations which I really enjoyed (the pictures are the reason I picked the book up!).
Cathryn Wellner
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
The time of Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng have created a visually stunning book. The indigo cast adds an air of mystery and sadness as a young girl works through the pain of her parents' separation. She is left in the country, with a grandmother she has never met. The anguish she must work through is relieved by three magical creatures (an owl, a frog and a mouse) who guide her to explore the natural wonders around her new home.

This is not a happily-ever-after story. While her father looks
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The mood is set quickly but the writing feels artless. The afterword looks like it should read like poetry but feels stilted. I can only imagine it is better in its original language--stars are for that assumption.
Sara Ahmed
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When I picked up this book, I was so excited because the illustrations were mind blowing. However, the actual text was not. And I am afraid it is because it was lost in translation which is shame. But truly, if you want a book with beautiful illustrations, I highly recommend this one!
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although I do think that this is the type of children's book that is geared more toward an adult or an older child, it was a beautiful book just the same. The story had consistency. It was a melancholy story, but lovely. The colors unfolded through the story. It was simply a beautiful book.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
This is such a pertinent book for many students. It deals with the uncertainty of divorce and living situations. It is a fun romp in the garden as well. I love that the Grandmother is the safe place, the case for so many students. The illustrations are lovely as well.
Alyssa Gudenburr
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I LOVED the illustrations. However, the story didn't make sense to me.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stunning illustrations create a dreamy like feel to this tale. A bit bumpy text. Lost in translation perhaps.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations were neat and I loved the colors. But the story really didn't go anywhere.
The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, but reading it, I kept asking myself who this book was really for.
Janet Slipak
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
From one of the great creative teams in picture books, On the Other Side of the Garden is about a city girl learning to accept the change brought about by her parents’ separation when she is taken to her grandmother’s house in the country and befriended by an owl, a frog and a mouse.

When her father leaves her at her grandmother’s house, the young girl at the center of this story feels abandoned and lonely. Her mother has moved to another country, and the girl wasn’t paying attention when her fat
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Sad book about separation, abandonment
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The author and illustrator of Walk with Me and Two White Rabbits return with a picture book that is immediately immersive. A little girl gets dropped off at her grandmother’s house by her father. When she wakes up in the night, there are three animals looking in at her through the window: an owl, a mouse and a frog. They seem friendly, so she opens the window for them. Soon they are inviting her out into the garden, her feet touching grass for the first time in a long time since she lived in the ...more
I tend to appreciate the works of this creative collaborative team because of their subtlety and the fact that they require readers to do some thinking. In other words, their books make readers think and view the world in a slightly different way. In the case of this picture book, a young girl is confused by the changes in her life that resulted in her coming to live with her paternal grandmother, a woman she only knew from photographs. Because her parents are separated, the girl must find her o ...more
A curious book that straddles adult and children's literature/comics and children's picture books. It's sort of like when I was watching Inside Out with my four year old the other night. He was watching a movie about a silly cotton candy elephant, while I was enjoying (and allegedly crying at) a touching story about a young girl coming to terms with uprooting her life and moving across the country. In reading this book, a child will appreciate a girl's midnight meetings with carious wild animals ...more
Ms. B
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, picture
A quiet story about a girl who is dropped off at her grandmother's for an indefinite amount of time that gets better with repeated readings. The second time I read this I shared it with one of my grandsons and we both enjoyed it.
Oh, this is a lovely and dreamy book, of sadness that is helped quickly by three sweet animals. Isabel has been left at the grandmother's home she's never visited, and in the night, an owl, a frog, and a mouse come to her window. Their meeting, and the kind invitation to come out for a walk helps Isobel talk about her family and what's happening in her life. They walk across the fields down along a creek, visiting, with the owl and frog sharing about the plant life, the stars, and the mouse in ...more
Laura G
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
What a different kind of book! Apparently, this author-illustrator duo is known for making big points in subtle, understated ways, and this book follows in that style. The story explores themes of lonliness, abandonment, change, connection as the girl adjusts to her parents' separation. The story didn't really flow, and I'm wondering how much that had to do with it being translated from Spanish; maybe it flows in Spanish. Even with a choppy text, there was so much of value to consider. But for m ...more
“When three creatures stare at you through a window, all you can do is open it and talk to them.”

Isabel has been dropped off to stay with her grandmother while her mother is out of the country and her father is looking for work. But when an owl, a frog and mouse come to visit, they help Isabel discover the world around her grandmother’s house and the joy of getting to know her grandmother.

Beautiful illustrations.

This would make a great example of how to do a character study. Follow the comments
Viviane Elbee
There’s gorgeous artwork in this book. It is on the longer side text-wise and touches (very lightly) on many discussion topics, such as poverty, parents living apart because of work or because they are trying to find work, kids being raised by grandparents out of necessity, and loneliness of elders who might not get visitors often.

The main story, of a little girl who goes to live with her grandma and who befriends talking animals is sweet.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng are a powerhouse duo in picture books. They tackle children's views of major issues, in highly regarded books such as Two White Rabbits and Walk With Me. This story follows a similar theme.

Isabel lives with the grandmother she hardly knows while her parents are working elsewhere. She makes new animal friends to deal with the sting of abandonment.

Yet another winner from Buitrago and Yockteng.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The author uses subtle understatement to tell the story of a young girl left at her grandmother's home after her parents separate. Her feelings of loss and anxiety come through. Three animals befriend her and take her exploring in the garden at night. She sees the beauty of this place and feels calmer as she explores. She also develops a relationship with her unknown grandmother.
Beautiful illustrations support the text.
Use with older elementary readers moving to unknown places.
Michele Knott
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about how a parents' separation can impact a young child - leaving them with questions and uncertainty. A young girl must go live with a not familiar grandparent while her parents go through a separation. It's with the help of some friendly animals that the girl starts feeling comfortable with her new surroundings.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
The illustrations are the best part of this book. The way the book is written seems quite... disjointed. The girl is sad because she's left at her grandmother's house. Random mentions of her parents bad relationship and father's lack of job. No resolution. It's just...odd. Not sure what they were going for with this mess.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting book. The art is amazing, especially the scene where they cuddle on the fence. There's an underlying story of specific pain here, but there's even more hope and optimism and honest love and compassion. Like Two White Rabbits by the same authors, this book is one you'd want to read with younger children because there are serious themes going on, but it is so, so worth it.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Yockteng's digitally created illustrations play beautifully with light, dark, and color in this tale of change and friendship. As the illustrations bloom, Isabel adjusts to living in the country with a grandmother she barely knows. While the illustrations are 5 stars, the text leaves a bit too much unexplained.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, immigration
An incredibly beautifully illustrated picture book. A young girl is separated from her mother (she is working in another country). Her father has dropped her off at a grandmother's house in the country. She is lonely and confused and she meets three animal friends that help her settle in. I think that a lot of the this story is lost in translation. It didn't carry over well in English.
Beth Kakuma-Depew
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, picture-books
While the night time landscape was invitingly mysterious, I found the drawing of the girl to be distracting. Her anatomy is stiff and awkward, her face is pinched and doll-like, and her hair is in stiff points that do not fit the soft realism of the animals. Lovely story, though.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
The subject matter was a little beyond what my 5 and 7 year old could understand but for some children, going to live with a grandparent is a reality. I like how she found solace in the garden and her grandmother's love.
Annie Young
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The art in this book is incredible! So very beautiful. Without using too many words and over explaining her situation to some animal friends, a young girl gets adjusts to her new life in the country. A lovely little tale.
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Jairo Buitrago es escritor de libros álbum para niños, ilustrador e investigador de temas cinematográficos. En 2007 fue el ganador del 11 concurso de álbum ilustrado A la Orilla del Viento del Fondo de Cultura Económica de México. Es autor de El señor L.Fante (2006) y ha colaborado con el ilustrador Rafael Yockteng en los libros Emiliano (2007), Camino A Casa (2008) y Eloísa y los bichos (2009). V ...more