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Book Review: What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden? by Susan Soares

Book Review: What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden? by Susan Soares

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hardback, 24 pages, delightful art sketches in color on every page.

What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden by Susan Soares is the story of seeing the world unfold through a child’s eyes as he joins Grandma in her garden with lively conversation, humor, and insight about all the discoveries — from carrots to cannabis as food and medicine, from roly polys that eat strawberries to ladybugs that ‘eat bad bugs,’ as well as carving out a special space for Grandma’s medicine, locked in a separate greenhouse with other plant medicines. The child asks why is the medicine separate from the food? Grandma explains they have different purposes…the food helps a child’s brain grow; medicine is for grown-ups’ healing and relaxation. The intent of the book is fulfilled by “helping grownups have a conversation with children about cannabis.”

The story opens and closes with a child’s sense of humor. The child tells us Grandma told him she has two green thumbs. He says, “They look normal to me.”

The story ends with stunning art depicting a serene small garden in full color with trees, flowers, bird feeders, benches, fruits, and veggies, Grandma and grandchild working together. Several kids are playing hide & seek and Grandma’s kid finds a good place to hide in the garden where ‘no one has ever found me.’

Color sketches of art and activity in the garden are a delightful highlight of the book: showing Grandma watering the plants, the kid looking for vegetables to eat and exploring roly polys, Grandma making a cannabis fruit smoothie and putting a topical on her knee when her joints ache. It depicts the garden in harmony with the natural world in full color on every page, accompanying the text for a fuller understanding. The purpose is to reverse Nancy Reagan’s ’80s saying, ‘Just Say No,’ and turn it into ‘Just Say Know.’

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That mission seems to have been accomplished. The child, after another visit to Grandma’s garden, has been won over and tells her,

‘When I grow up, I’m going to have a garden too.

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