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The Gardener

WRITTEN BY
Sarah Stewart

PICTURES BY
David Small

Stewart, Sarah. (1997). The Gardener. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

This Caldecott Honor Book tells of a country girl sent to live with her uncle in a large city in 1935. Uncle Jim has a big nose, mustache, no smile, and a bakery. Lydia Grace tries hard to help, but it is the garden she secretly grows for him on the roof that finally touches his heart. The entire story is told through letters Lydia writes to her family at home.

 

Activities for Students

GRADE LEVELS: 3 through 6

Writing

1. Write the long poem the Lydia Grace wrote to Uncle Jim. What might it say that triggers Uncle Jim’s response?

2. Retell the story by developing letters written between characters.

3. Write a paragraph explaining one feeling Lydia Grace experiences at the beginning of the book that changes as time passes. Add an illustration to your paragraph.

4. Write a paragraph explaining one feeling Lydia Grace experiences at the beginning of the book that does not change as time passes. Add an illustration to your paragraph.

5. Write sequel letters from Lydia Grace to Emma and to Uncle Jim.

Inference

Infer what happened between writing two of the letters from Lydia Grace to her family.

Compare and Contrast

Use vivid adjectives to compare and contrast the first and the final view of the roof.

High-Level Thinking: Analogy

1. Complete the following analogies. Work is to Uncle Jim as is to . Gardening is to Lydia Grace as is to .

2. Create analogies comparing the characters of Lydia Grace and Uncle Jim.

3. Create an analogy depicting the main idea of the story.

Research

Research the depression in the U.S. during the 1930’s. Compare the conditions and events of that time to today’s economy.

  
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