Ford, Bernette G.

Uncle John's City Garden

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Family + gardening = a great summer feast. Li'l Sissy, the youngest of three African American siblings, tells how she and her siblings help their uncle John cultivate a garden in an empty lot between high-rise apartment buildings in their neighborhood. A gentle giant who towers above the kids, Uncle John lets them choose which plants to grow. Brother chooses corn and lima beans, Sister onions and tomatoes, and Li'l Sissy okra. Uncle John prepares the soil, the kids plant the seeds, and they all water, weed, and watch. At summer's end, at the family cookout, everyone enjoys the grilled meats, but the succotash outshines the rest because Uncle John and the kids grew the ingredients. Morrison's (R-E-S-P-E-C-T, rev. 7/20) color-saturated illustrations hint at his graffiti-art background, radiating the yellows of summer heat and the earth tones of the garden while emphasizing the bond that Li'l Sissy and her siblings enjoy. The wide-brimmed hat she wears, which mirrors her uncle's, suggests that Li'l Sissy will inherit his passion for gardening. Loosely based on the New York City childhood of late author Ford, this visually lush story paints a memorable, sensory-rich portrait of family bonding through gardening.


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