Review Blog

Jun 23 2010

Noah's Garden by Mo Johnson

cover image

Ill. by Annabelle Josse. Walker Books, 2010. ISBN: 978 1921150159.
Highly recommended. Picture book. In Noah's garden, anything is possible. He flies seaplanes, bathes with tigers, rides on camels, dances with penguins, fights with pirates, spies on helicopters and wishes with Grandad. The most important wish Noah makes is to have Jessica come to play in his garden but this dream never seems to be realised. 'Surprises come suddenly in Noah's garden', however, and finally his wish comes true.
A simple, touching story, suitable for the youngest of readers, this is based on the experiences of a family whose daughter was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Noah continues to dream while he waits for his sister to come and join him in the hospital garden. Josse's beautiful watercolour illustrations alternate between realistic and imagined scenes and depict the garden as a place of beauty, wonder and peace. The doctors and nurses and the interior of the hospital are sensitively and realistically portrayed, as are Noah's emotions. According to the blurb at the back of the book, Jessica's seven month stay in hospital provided the inspiration for this story which has the capacity to melt many a healthy adult heart. It speaks of 'courage and resilience in the face of adversity' and acknowledges the gardens which are part of many hospitals, as well as those who create and care for them. With royalties being donated to the Royal Children's Hospital Foundation, Melbourne, and its gentle and thought provoking content, this is a book which is definitely to be highly recommended.
Jo Schenkel

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