The Year of the Garden (Anna Wang #0.5)by Andrea Cheng, Patrice Barton (Illustrator)

Expected publication: April 11th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: When Anna is gifted a copy of The Secret Garden, it inspires her to follow her dreams—maybe she can plant ivy and purple crocuses and the birds will come.  Or maybe what grows from her dream of a garden is even better: friendship. And friendship, like a garden, often has a mind of its own.       In this prequel to Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth.

My Review: Anna Wang is an 8 year old girl who moved to a new house with her parents and her brother Ken. She is worried about friends and school. When she is given a gift of seeds and the book The Secret Garden, she decides that she will make a garden in the backyard. It is easier said than done. As she sits under a honeysuckle bush reading her book, Laura, another new girl to the neighbourhood, pops in. They become great friends and even end up in the same class. They are not interested in the same things and Anna is worried that their friendship won’t last. When they find a baby bunny under the bushes, they are worried it will die overnight in the cold. With the help of Laura’s aunt they are able to nurse it and keep it healthy. Read about Anna and Laura and how friendship can survive the odds or other friends and interests. There is some discussion of the cultural differences such as food and difficulty with the language, but it is not a major part of the story. A quick read for young readers. I like the mention of other books in this story as it should peak the interest in those books as well for the reader. A good addition to a late primary, early junior classroom or home library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.