The Garden of Hope ISBN: 9781848577138
Published by Caterpillar Books, 2018
We don't know if Maya has lost her mum through death or because she has left the family, but lost her she has in one way or another, and Maya and her dad and their dog Pip are 'a bit of a mess'. Dad does his best, but the house and the garden are suffering, and so are dad and Maya. Dad forgets things and is sometimes angry, and Maya is a worrier - she chews her nails and is often sad and lonely. Dad cheers her up with his stories. But one day when Maya is feeling anxious, dad tells her a very special story, one about her mother, whom he almost never speaks of. He says that mum 'used to worry about things too', and when she was worried, she would go out into the garden and work and weed and plant seeds, and this always helped. 'She called them her seeds of hope', dad says. So Maya gets busy and begins to regenerate the neglected garden. In true 'Secret Garden' style, she and dad make it come alive again (although Pip doesn't exactly help) and when her seeds start to grow and flower, all sorts of other things begin to come to the garden: insects, birds, voles and hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels and foxes. The garden hums with all the activity and beauty, and Maya and dad know, in spite of some continuing problems, they have found the hope so needed. The illustrations are beautiful and inspiring with as much colour and vigour as the garden itself, and this is a wonderfully positive story that comes out of a sad situation, a tale of the natural world providing comfort and healing.