Monday, April 18, 2011

Uno's Garden by Graeme Base

Lexile     Not rated          Pages     40          Ages      5-8
AR Quiz No. 110348 EN Fiction
  IL: LG - BL: 3.8 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP

Uno goes into the forest and loves its beauty so much that he decides to stay.  Among the 100 plants, the Moopaloops, the Lumpybums and Frinklepods, and the one Snortlepig, he builds himself a little hut to live in.  But in building the hut, one of the plants disappears.  More people follow Uno, building homes, railroads, and skyscrapers.  As the city grows, the forest shrinks and the incredible animals and the beautiful plants slowly disappear until there is nothing left - not even the Snortlepig.  But in the midst of all of this urban growth, Uno has planted a small garden with one of each of the plants the book starts with in it.  One morning he goes out to find the Snortlepig in his garden, where it lives until it, like Uno, gets old and dies.  By then, the other people have completely destroyed the rest of the forest and they look out their windows and ask, "Why do we live here? There are no trees or animals!" and they pack up and move away.

Slowly, over generations, Uno's descendants bring the forest, the Moopaloops, the Lumpybums and Frinklepods back, keeping the buildings and the forest, the people and the animals in balance.  But the Snortlepig is gone forever.

This is a great book to introduce ecology to your children - the importance of keeping the Earth clean and the urban sprawl, and forests and vegetation, as well as the people and other creatures in balance.  The illustrations start out colorful and fantastical, but as urban creep sets in they become more and more dull, both in color and content.  As Uno's descendants reclaim the forest the color and fantasy slowly come back - all except for the poor Snortlepig.  His fate opens the door for a conversation about extinction and our job to protect all living creatures.  As a bonus, at the top of each two-page spread there is a list of what is left of the plants and animals that is represented as mathematical equations, giving you a chance to introduce basic math skills.   Uno's Garden carries a message that is important not just for children, but for all of us.

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie

Get your copy of Uno's Garden at the Lake County Public Library today or click here to reserve a copy for fast and easy pickup at the Circulation Desk at  your favorite branch.

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