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The Curious Garden

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  6,472 ratings  ·  728 reviews
One boy's quest for a greener world... one garden at a time.

While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

This is an enchanting tale with environmental themes and breathtaking illustrations that be
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,472 ratings  ·  728 reviews

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Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Hello! My name is Mr. Message. You probably know me from my countless appearances in books, especially the "for children" variety. It's my job to expose a universal truth or support a cause. Sometimes I even tell the reader how they should act. As you may know, I can be controversial.

Sometimes, people get upset when authors make it really clear that I'm coming to the party. They put me front and center, and the story takes a back seat. Hey, I can be preachy if that's what the author wants! I don
Both the illustrations and text of Peter Brown's The Curious Garden are expressively nuanced, and the change from a grey and depressing urban wasteland to a blooming, green metropolis is in many ways truly magical and inspiring. The very concept of nature actually having its own mind, of nature taking over if given even just a bit of encouragement, or being simply left alone, is also a very hopeful and refreshing sentiment (especially for those of us living in urban, very nature deprived environ ...more
Lisa Vegan
This book completely charmed me.

It reminded me of how when I was young blades of grass growing up through the sidewalk cracks had me fascinated; I could examine them for long periods of time and enjoy myself thoroughly.

Liam the city gardener is a really wonderful character. The garden taking over the previously lifeless city is inspiring and there are funny and sweet moments.

The illustrations are beautiful and fun to look at.

Until I joined Goodreads I’d never lost my fondness for children’s and
I am in love with this book!!! It touched my mind, my heart and my imagination. Liam is an adorable, thoughtful, creative boy who gently cares for and appreciates the bedraggles remnants of a garden--the only plant life in the city. Yet, the garden is also a personality in this story. I don't want to give anything away, just encourage everyone to read this book! The illustration at the end almost brought tears to my eyes it is so beautiful! I am sure I am talking this up too much, but, hey, what ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A rather dystopian story about a drab, ugly, polluted city where people spend most of their time indoors. Liam, however, likes to wander outside, and one day discovers some plants struggling to grow on an old train trestle. As he tends the plants, his garden grows and spreads around the city. As it spreads, people begin to notice and leave their homes to enjoy the greenery and help tend the plants. It's a lovely story of the greening of a community and its effect on the inhabitants. One person c ...more
Kayla Edwards
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a really neat way of showing how a single idea, when properly nurtured, can take root and expand to touch other minds and sprout new ideas. Or you can keep it simple and it's just a book about how plants can spread far and wide. Either way, a nicely written book with fun illustrations. ...more
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
They say that children's books are inherently didactic. Particularly those of the picture book variety. There's an idea that you can't tell a story to a child without including some of your own personal values in the midst of the tale. And this may be true since immoral children's books are few and far between (Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book excepted, of course). The trick then is to tell a tale without bludgeoning the child over the head with the message. Get too preachy and both kids and parents will ...more
Jim Gorman
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
I really love this book. The art is very nice and I love the idea of how one boy and some plants he finds on and abandoned railway line can take a dirty old city and make it green again
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In one of those lovely coincidences of timing, I picked up The Curious Garden, which came highly recommended by a friend, just one week after the departure of a visiting cousin from Texas. In town to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum, he was also quite keen to take a look at the new High Line Park, on Manhattan's west side.

Newly opened to the public (at least in part) this past June, the park uses the old elevated High Line train-tracks, built in 1930 and derelict sinc
So many of my friends had spoken so highly of this that I was afraid by the time I read it I'd be somewhat disappointed. I'm very pleased to say that I was wrong. Even with all the "hype" this little book still managed to touch my heart by the second page and hold me till the end.

What I love about this book, is not only the wonderful idea of a garden as something of a sentient being, wanting to explore the green-less city around it, but also how the young gardener in the book is such a happy boy
Crystal Marcos
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book to add to any children's collection. Love the story of the little boy who brought beauty to his city. I think children will find it fun to read about a child who cared enough to tend to a garden on an abandoned railroad. This little boy's act of kindness spreads beauty throughout the city. The illustrations were lovely and classic. I enjoyed the author's note at the end and finding out what inspired him to write this charming story. ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
A perfect picture book that gives a magical feel to the act of improving one's own little place in the world. Liam begins taking care of some neglected plants by the railway and a whole garden crops up. In time, the neighbors are inspired to create their own green places, and the dull gray city is transformed. Based on the Highline railway in Manhattan that was abandoned in 1980, this book is sure to inspire nature lovers everywhere! ...more
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Charming little book about a boy named Liam, who creates a garden in an unlikely place. A nice story with quality illustrations to match. Add a packet of seeds and/or some small child gardening tools with this book for a wonderful children's gift. ...more
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
A delightful picture book about a boy who creates a garden on abandoned railroad tracks. This book was a hit with my kids.
Chaise Carter
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, library-school
My favorite picture book that I read this year.
I used this book for garden themed story times in May. With detailed, intricate drawings, it is not the best for this purpose, especially really large groups (for me that means more than 20-25 children) but the story read well and the colors are vibrant.

The Curious Garden is about a little boy who lives in a dirty, smoggy place who happens to stumble upon a patch of plants on some abandoned tracks. He tends to the plants and they begin to grow vertically and horizontally. They follow the tracks
Lonna Pierce
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A perfect choice to read aloud for Earth Day, this quirky picture book is a delightful account of one boy who changes the world by making it greener, one garden at a time. A decrepit old elevated train track is transformed into a public green space by a combination of curious magic and one child's earnest efforts. This greenery spreads throughout the city and inspires more young gardeners along the way. The book can be paired nicely with Sarah Stewart's "The Gardener," and is a perfect segue to ...more
Tricia Douglas
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very cute picture book about a boy who lives in a drab city with no color. He finds a corner near some old railroad tracks where a few weeds are growing and decides that these plants need a gardener. As the weeks roll by and he helps the plants grow, a garden appears. Along with the color from the plants, the city also looks a lot better. The garden spreads and more people begin planting gardens. It's a beautiful book with a simple story, but one that children will see as exciting and able to ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a picture book, so shorter than I usually review, but I wanted to remember it. The illustrations really make the book; we got it on loan through the library but read it on a device that could show the illustrations, but I think hard copy would be even better.

It’s a very short read; we live in a city and my son really liked gardening on our porch, so it had some fun relevance for us. My favorite part was the tie in with the High Line natural space in Manhattan in the author’s note at the
Luisa Knight
A story about a little boy that finds an abandoned railroad track and nurtures the plants that grow there.

Ages: 4 - 7

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A story about a boy who stumbles onto some plants that are trying to survive on an abandoned railroad tracks. What ensues is a passion within the child to garden and tend to the plants, while bringing beauty to a dreary city. I love how the illustrations are layed out on the page. Especially the one with the overhead bridge with the railroad tracks on them.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightful read. I love how it connected to the Highline in Manhattan. I think it was also really cool that the book was printed on recycled paper. It spoke to the importance of nature in our lives without being preachy. A very accessible message for all ages.
Jan 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
Lovely idea, and, according to the author's note, plausible. But I dunno, something about this didn't quite engage me. Still, I do recommend sharing it with all the children you know - maybe there is a brighter future possible.

Edit: I've learned that rooftop gardens & green-spaces are succeeding. Yay! Therefore this is not a fantasy, therefore I've given the book another star. Also, I guess on some level it engaged me, because I do still think about it sometimes, over a year later.
Mar 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
Very cute. A great story to promote environmentalism!
Emily Carlyn
Apr 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read the summary of this story before I dove in, and I was so, so pleasantly surprised! Although some pages are text heavy, it makes up by having pages that are full illustration only. This is such a lovely and heart warming story of finding your niche - gardens! ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
Oh, what a delightful book! One little boy's natural draw to the outdoors and his curiosity lead to entire city blooming and returning to the outdoors. And not only is the little boy, Liam, curious, but his garden is curious as well. The garden curiously explores the city as Liam learns to take care of the garden. And more and more gardeners begin to pop up as the garden spreads and spreads. I particularly like that even though winter covers his garden in piles of snow, that doesn't stop Liam fr ...more
Ana LibrariAna
I love this book! A perfect read-aloud for Earth Day, Spring, Gardening club, or "just" making-a-difference story.
A sweet and magical story about how each and every one of us, even the littlest ones, can make a difference and help change the world for the better.
A curious boy named Liam, who liked spending time outdoors (even though his city looked grey and dreary), found a struggling garden on an abandoned railroad. He decided to help the plants grow and started to learn how to take care of t
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book that I already know I will want to read again for the pure pleasure of the whimsical illustrations, quiet message, and character growth as an old railroad track winding above a city transforms into a green garden with the help of a little boy, Liam. Would be great for a longer read-aloud or lap book.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a picture book, but it struck me as much as anything else I've read recently - maybe more. The story and illustrations have the makings of a classic. If you take the story as a metaphor, it can be applied to just about anything that makes the world a more human-friendly place. A nice coffee table book for anyone trying to find and nurture a little bit of hope. ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In typical Peter Brown style, a book with deep meanings. Read it, think through it, and know that you can make a difference - one at a time.
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2019 Roe Reading ...: The Curious Garden 1 1 May 21, 2021 01:37AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Brown is an American writer and illustrator who is best known for children's picture books.

"Peter has always loved telling stories. Growing up in New Jersey, he told stories by drawing whimsical characters and scenes from his imagination. Then, as a teenager, he fell

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