Green ThumbsGreen Thumbs by Laurie Carlson is a collection of activities to teach children about gardening from planting seeds to enjoying the produce of flower and vegetable gardens. Written for parents with children ages five to eight in grades one to three, the book gives informative introductory information for each activity plus a list of materials and very simple step by step instructions illustrated with black and white line drawings. The activities are organized into nine chapters including planting basics, pest control, animals and other plants, recipes, and novelty plants.

Carlson includes a large number of activates spanning many aspects of gardening. Some are tried and true others are less well-known. The first chapter introduces young gardeners to gardening tools with directions for making a watering can, scoop, plant labels, and cloche from gallon milk jugs and gives simple instruction for preparing the garden area, creating compost, and sowing seeds. Other activities include constructing a mini greenhouse, germinating seeds in a plastic bag, and propagating plants from leaf and stem cuttings. The Chapter on pests includes directions for three homemade bug sprays, a windmill, and a scarecrow. Garden Partners considers not only activities for attracting birds, but also activities for attracting frogs, several beneficial insects. Tasty Idea gives some recipes for using vegetables from the garden and directions for making flower petal candy. If growing plants is a novel ways appeals, directions are available for a cucumber in a bottle, seedlings lifting a penny, and potatoes in a sack. Creative activities include writing a garden diary, growing an Easter basket, and making a corn husk dol

The sheer number of diverse activities makes this book a valuable resource for any parent or grandparent that wants to interest children in gardening and plants. The inclusion of an activities on fungi, algae, and yeasts is surprising since they are no longer considered in the plant kingdom but that is a minor matter. As a former high school biology teacher and now an avid gardener I love the book and will use it with my granddaughters.

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By Karen