Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

This book is dedicated – “For Blaise Diane, our ‘Little Bee,’ who I hope will love seeds and plants as much as her family before her.” (Blaise is my youngest granddaughter. Her cousin Gráinne has already shown a love of seeds and plants, and I’m sure Blaise will follow along.)

The Story Behind The Story

Sometimes there’s a lot of “story” behind the story. Sometimes there’s not much – there’s just the story. I’d put Badger’s Perfect Garden in the latter group.

Although my manuscript and book themes stretch over a wide landscape, recently I’ve been enjoying writing about woodland creatures, as in May I Come In?  I love badgers in stories, so my main character in this book is again a badger, as in Waiting for Snow. 

The reason I wandered into a book about gardens is probably because I’ve been surrounded by gardens all my life. Also, my father’s family has been farmers for generations. My Grandmother Krehbiel lived on a farm all her life and planted vegetables for a family of 10. But she didn’t forget the flowers. Her yard was abundant with color and fragrance – iris, spirea, Bachelor Button, petunias, lilacs.  My Grandmother Lippincott moved around a lot, but she always found a spot in which to plant flowers. Her favorites were hollyhocks and sweetpeas. When I lived in Northern California, I had a half acre of flowers and heirloom fruit trees – 50 heirloom roses, lavender, sage, iris, peonies, lilacs (a challenge in California!) and much more.

That perfection bit? Well, I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. As I age, I’ve let go of some of my perfectionism. When I do, I find lovely surprises awaiting me, just as Badger did.

Reviews

Kirkus

There is no drought of picture books about animal friends making a garden. The hook in this one is the message that when plans go awry, there may still be a rainbow at the end. The attractive, full-page illustrations show flair and gentle humor (Badger’s yoga practice will have readers chuckling). The animals are lightly anthropomorphic; all wear some sort of human garment or accessory, and the texture of the animal fur is beautifully realized…the message of coping with unmet expectations and not giving up hope is worthwhile.

Midwest Book Review

This is a fun book based on not giving up and accepting that things can be bright even when they don’t turn out the way we want them to

Feathered Quill

Quill says: Badger’s Perfect Garden is a charming little story with a great lesson to be learned. Sometimes you just have to let go of your idea of “perfect” and let nature take its course…you never know what wonders may await!

Picture Book Depot

In a world fraught with bad news, a picture book about a badger’s desire to grow something beautiful can be a refreshing change. Badger’s Perfect Garden, by award-winning children’s book author, Marsha Diane Arnold, is just such a book…
Badger’s Perfect Garden is a refreshing little book about life’s pleasures and surprises. It is a book about what happens when one’s creative side is clamoring to get out. But it is also a book about how not everything can be planned; sometimes the most beautiful things are things that were never planned, but instead “just happened” when you (or in this case, Badger) weren’t looking.
Ms. Arnold’s prose is impossibly sweet and almost reads like a how-to-plant-a-garden manual for very young readers. Artist Ramona Kaulitzki’s illustrations are as lush and colorful as they are furry and fluffy…
Use this book to open discussions about growing gardens, replenishing barren spots in the yard or neighborhood — and even how not everything can be planned, but even if it isn’t, it may still end up being more beautiful than one ever thought it could be.

Geolibrarian

Not only is this a delightful book about gardening and the hazards that can go with it, it’s also a sweet reminder that sometimes things work out even when our plans don’t. The illustrations are darling and compliment the text beautifully. A wonderful book all around, especially for those looking for stories about friendship, gardening, or overcoming disappointment.

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