“Those who feel physically or emotionally distant from beloved adults will take comfort in the idea that there are others who care. A subtle and affecting journey to resilience best shared one-on-one to pore over the spectacular artwork.”—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
From one of the great creative teams in picture books, On the Other Side of the Garden is about a city girl learning to accept the change brought about by her parents’ separation after she is left at her grandmother’s house in the country.
The girl feels abandoned and lonely, but after venturing into the nighttime garden, she is befriended by an owl, a frog and a mouse. Her talkative new companions show her an extraordinary new world by the light of the moon. When the girl gets back in the morning, her grandmother seems neither alarmed or angry about the girl’s nighttime adventures. Instead she gently introduces her granddaughter to her new surroundings, making clear that the girl is welcome. And as the sun warms their backs, the two seem content to get to know each other better.
Buitrago’s stories convey large truths through understatement and suggestion. This story, beautifully illustrated by Yockteng, shows how a child can use her own bravery and curiosity to confront confusing and potentially frightening realities, such as a parents’ separation and being left with an almost unknown relative. There is an endnote about the plants and animals that might be found in such a garden.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
This is a creative, reassuring take on disruptive relocation . . . The indirectness of the approach is the story’s strength, making this a pleasing alternative to more overtly didactic tales of disrupted lives and turning time with a relative into literal magic.
Simply outstanding . . .
A subtle and affecting journey to resilience.
Buitrago and Yockteng (Walk with Me) imagine the kinds of comfort that might console Isabel most, and readers share in the beginning of her healing.
A hopeful book about a child’s confusion and fear of abandonment.
This understated picture book looks innocent on the surface, but holds the framework for understanding the huge impacts of parental separation and divorce. . . . [An] excellent resource to read one-on-one with a child who is going through big life changes . . .