The Curious Garden

I have always loved reading Children’s books. There is something charming, and uplifting about them, a shining hope that we sometimes fumble with as we grow older. Even when the books deal with hard topics, even when they deal with hard concepts. Every time I feel jaded, there is nothing like a lovely children’s book to help me uncover the magic again.

One beautiful day in November, I dragged the children along on a walk. The fall season, and the recent rains had given way to unruly gardens, crisp fallen leaves for us to feel the crunch as we walked on, and little birds frequenting the place once more. On the road side, was a hedge trimmed to the shape of an oblong mushroom and the toddler son stopped in front of it and said, “Like the Curious Garden book right? This is how it was in Amma’s garden when she was a little girl.”

The daughter looked dubious. “How do you know it was like that in Amma’s garden when she was a little girl. You weren’t there remember?” The son looked hurt. It is true that he is often confused with time and does not understand why there were periods in our life before he was born, when he always remembered having her with him.

What is Time is a favorite question of his.

“I know! But Amma told me when she read the book, right Amma?”

“That’s right!” I said somewhat taken aback that he remembered what I had said in passing while looking at the pictures in the book a few days ago. It has since become a favorite book for both of us. We love cuddling up with the Curious Garden.

It is a heart warming story about a little boy named Liam who looks after some plants on a forgotten railroad track only to have the curious garden spread its influence all over the forgotten places in the city. The Curious Garden also inspires many amateur gardeners and the last page shows the transformation of a bleak, smog-laden city to a beautiful one with creepers and trees and hidden nooks of gardens by the time the boy grows to a man.

One on gardens in Brain Pickings:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/10/the-little-gardener-emily-hughes/

During Thanksgiving, the pre-school that the son goes to had an exercise asking the children what they are most thankful for. The notes were shaped like feathers and they were all posted on the notice board together in the shape of a turkey. I stopped to see what the children were thankful about. I must say it was all wonderful. Very few had capitalistic tones, which definitely warmed my heart.

The son’s feather-shaped note said he was thankful for Mom cuddling up with him and reading Curious Garden.

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