Book Review: Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots

Rating: ★★★★☆

Just in case gardening with kids isn’t exciting enough all on its own, Sharon Lovejoy takes it to a whole new level.  This attractive, well-organized volume opens with a “top twenty” list of easy, fast-growing plants for kids, and quickly moves on to a smorgasbord of gardening inspiration.  There are eight full-scale themed gardens, the most ambitious of which are play spaces: a clubhouse made entirely from sunflowers, string, and morning glories; a nighttime teepee sown with flowers that bloom only at night; a flower maze; and a “giant’s house” made of colossal vegetables.  There is also a section on container projects for those with less opportunity and/or confidence — a pebble-and-soil filled pot for growing “carrot people,” a metal tub filled with rainbow potatoes, or even an old glove tacked to the wall and planted with nasturtiums.

The book’s explicit goal is to help children learn to commune with Mother Nature, and most Christian families won’t share the author’s views.  However, her practical ideas are fantastic, providing the perfect experiential context for discussing what it might have been like for Adam to care for the world’s first garden (Genesis 2:15).

Lovejoy writes from decades of avid gardening experience with children and seeks to inspire an exploratory wonder in her readers. Projects are described with step-by-step instructions, but she assumes a level of competence that might intimidate the beginning gardener.  Her “gardening basics” chapter is almost an afterthought, tacked on at the end of the book, although her resource list is quite helpful.  I’d recommend that beginners supplement with a basic gardening guide such as The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible to deal with unexpected obstacles.

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Publication Information: Lovejoy, Sharon. Roots Shoots Buckets and Boots. Workman Publishing Company. 1999. ISBN: 0761110569.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age Adult
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Posted on April 13, 2012

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