Here in the garden by Briony Stewart

cover image

UQP, April 2014. ISBN 9780702250101.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Friendship. Loss. Grief. Gardens. With changing seasons, a young boy and his pet rabbit celebrate the loss of a friend who played and worked in the garden with him. He trawls through his memories of their time together, how they'd watch the garden when it rained, sitting on the back step with a hot drink, or search for signs of new growth or watch for the new shoots and changes in the garden, or swim through the leaves.
The quietly absorbing story follows the seasons as they change, and each change brings the refrain, 'I wish that you were here.' It will be clear to all readers, young and old, that someone has left, gone away or died, so each reader will bring their own personal loss to this story and find as does this little boy, that memories hold that person still in their heart.
The soft water colour illustrations suit the story well, giving a luminous glow to the garden as sweeps of muted colour cover the pages. Some are filled with closely observed drawings of plants and flowers, while others show leaves or wind sweeping across the page, but each has one small boy and his rabbit, looking wistfully at the garden he and his friend helped to develop. This is a charming story of loss and memories.
Fran Knight