January is the perfect time of the year for reading gardening books and catalogues: long enough after the last frost to be antsy about getting back into the garden, but well before all the work begins (around here at least) so that you actually have time to read and plan and dream. I was interested in checking out Ready Set Grow! even before DK Canada generously donated a copy to Parkview Neighbourhood Garden (thanks again Chris at DK), so I was excited to not only get my hands on a copy, but to finally be able to read and review it. I'm happy to say it was worth the wait.
If you didn't already realize it, Ready Set Grow! is a gardening book for kids (and kids at heart). Parental help will likely be needed for most projects, especially for the younger set. The reading and skill level are best suited to 10- to 13-year-olds, although there's no reason why even the youngest children wouldn't enjoy the majority of the projects (the Wild-West cacti container probably not being one of them!), as long as mom or dad (or grand-mom or granddad) are there.
The projects themselves are fun and often educational. They range from the practical (Make a self-irrigation system) to the crafty (Enchanted path) to tasty (Nasturtium nibbles, Pizza garden) and the just plain fun (Fairy Ring). There are indoor as well as outdoor activities; simple recipes; and lots of good, solid gardening info. If your child wasn't interested in gardening before reading this book I'd be surprised if they still weren't after. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to attempt any of the projects yet but they look straightforward; I think satisfying results are pretty much a given.
The graphics in the book are fantastic: tons of photos, cute illustrations, and bright colours. The pictures alone make you eager to try the projects and leave you confident that you can do it. The book ends with a Glossary and Index, both helpful and welcome additions. Although the book isn't very long (79 pages) it's packed full of information and inspiration (and since it's a quick read, it leaves more time for playing in the garden).
Overall, this book is ideal for any budding gardener (or anyone you'd like to encourage in that direction). And if you're lucky enough to read it in winter it gives you and your children plenty to look forward to.
Quote: Did you know? Plants have two names: a scientific one often in Latin, and a common name, which may vary in different places.