So many books. So little time.
We get to know the little girl in the book very well indeed. She does not like carrots, weeds are to be pulled out, and rabbits are pests who nibble away at the lettuce.
But ah! Look at her likes:
Color-changing, pattern-appearing flowers that would never die
Jelly bean bushes
Instant flowers to replace those that you pick
"birds and butterflies by the hundreds, so that the air was humming with wings."
Magic, and color, and aliveness is what would inform her garden. The illustrations march hand in hand with the words. The first picture, of Mom’s garden, is constrained in a circle.
"but if I had a garden…" she says, and hey-presto, the illustrations change. Full-page spreads edge to edge. Here is the Kevin Henkes enchantment. Page after page of glorious color. The world of imagination, of magic, where all that she wishes for can happen.
And then the illustrations change again. The full-page spreads give way to the constrained, circular form that the story started with, the illustrations that depict the real world.
"What are you doing?" asks my mother.
"Oh, nothing," I say. “Just working in the garden."
The story comes full circle.