In the Garden Whos Been ThereGardens are made up of more than plants and Lindsay Barret Beorge’s book, In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? introduces the reader to some of the animals that might be there. Appropriate for preschoolers through second grade, the book shows how some common animals that might be found in backyard garden make their presence known. The interaction of people, animals, and plants in the garden is presented in a warm and friendly way that builds respect and love for the nature.

The story concerns a brother and sister who are sent by their mother to gather vegetables from their garden. They notice such things as the slime of a snail in the cucumber patch, the hole of mole near the hollyhocks, and corn kernels pecked by a crow. Other visitors to the garden include a tomato hornworm, woodchuck, rabbit, chipmunk, and deer mouse, each one using the garden and leaving tell-tale signs of their presence. Children and animals all share the bounty of the garden and enjoy the plants growing there.

The format of the book is very appealing. The colorful pictures are bold and show the animals in considerable realistic detail. A rhythm is set up by the way the story is presented; the clues that the children notice are described on one page ending with the recurrent question, “Who’s been here?” A flip of the page shows the animal “doing his thing” in the garden. This is fun book to read to children as they quickly learn to identify the animals from their clues and answer the question, “Who’s been here?” before the answer is revealed.
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By Karen