My Nana’s Garden


Through the seasons we join the granddaughter on her visits to My Nana’s Garden. Though it’s tangled with weeds there is wonder and discoveries, like mini pathways for the ‘tiny wee feet’ and the owl in the tree. Together the pair sit by firelight and gaze into the starlight. They harvest apples, collect seeds and plan and watch together. Yet the seasons turn and the pair get older. The garden is let go as Nana grows frailer. Across a snow clad scene, we join the granddaughter in Nana’s garden, ‘quite and bare’ as she curls up and cries. The garden is alone, silent, still and without Nana’s life.

Dawn Casey expands the story across seasons with perfect describing rhyming couplets. Jessica Courtney- Tickle celebrates Nana’s garden and the visits with glorious, intricate pictures. We share the wonder and joy, life and loss in an exceptional picture book. My Nana’s Garden is truly special.

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My Nana’s Garden

Dawn Casey & Jessica Courtney- Tickle


My Nana’s’ Garden is ‘tangled with weeds’, ‘rainy and wet’ and ‘not very neat’. Yet it is the place to discover, collaborate and wonder. There are birds, new life and ‘a basket and net’ to harvest the fruit from the trees. Then there are the ‘pathways’ through which mini beasts and small mammals travel on their ‘tiny feet’. In a ‘great crooked tree’ is an owl that Nana helps us see. Thereafter, at night, we sit with Nana by the firelight, watching the starlight. The seasons change toward summer and ‘plenty to eat- wild flowers, weeds.
However as the seasons change, we get older and the garden is let go. Nana can no longer tend it, though it offers comfort and wonder through continued visits. Nana is getting older, frailer, tireder, until she lets go. ‘The sun doesn’t shine/ in the winter sky.’ 
Dawn Casey leads us through a seasonal lifetime of lyrical visits with Nana. When Nana leaves us, we ‘curl up and cry‘ in the huge white, snow clad landscape. On one side of a double page, fox cubs curl together, hibernating, womb like. On the other the granddaughter, black clad, curls up alone in foetal position on Nana’s chair. We pause, watch and mourn.
My Nana’s Garden is a thoughtful and exceptionally skilled and paced picture book. Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s delicate pictures are intricate with meaningful detail. We exalt in discovering the garden on each turn of the page. Therefore, it makes us feel Nana’s loss keenly. Bookwagon is proud to recommend this picture book for home and school. It is quite wonderful.


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