I know I say this a lot, but I am so excited to be able to share this book, A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters, with you today! As a book-loving, homeschooling mom, this book is a dream. When I heard about it, it actually sounded too good to be true, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. It is actually as amazing as it sounds!
This is a long post as I have a lot to share with you about this gorgeous, jam-packed book, so be sure to get all the way to the end so you can enter the giveaway for a $100 giftcard! Who couldn’t use that this holiday season?
About the Book
Title: A Year in the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99
Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full-color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.
With over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together, A Year In the Secret Garden is an opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.
Well, as I said in my introduction above, this book is amazing, almost too good to be true. If you are a lover of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic book, The Secret Garden, you will love this book!
If you are not familiar with this book, here’s a quick synopsis from Amazon:
This timeless classic is a poignant tale of Mary, a lonely orphaned girl sent to a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast lonely moor. At first, she is frightened by this gloomy place until she meets a local boy, Dickon, who’s earned the trust of the moor’s wild animals, the invalid Colin, an unhappy boy terrified of life, and a mysterious, abandoned garden…
Budayr and Scott-Waters have demonstrated their love for this classic story with their offering, A Year in the Secret Garden, which is a beautiful celebration of the original story that invites the reader to dig deeper into the cultures, character, and cuisine of young Mary’s world.
The book is organized by months, with each month including recipes, games, crafts, and a character sketch of someone in the book. It is truly a homeschooling mom’s dream come true as it is a literature study curriculum that is, in itself, a gorgeous living book.
This book was provided to me free-of-charge from the author for this blog tour in exchange for my honest opinion. When I signed up for the blog tour, I was asked to highlight the month of August in my review.
The August section in this book is a celebration of summer, perhaps odd for those of you enjoying snow and preparing for Christmas right now, but perfect for us here in the tropics and those in the Southern Hemisphere.
The recipes given for August are for scones and ginger tea as well as ideas for variations of fruit- and herb-infused water. As far as I’m concerned, those foods and drinks are welcome year round! As you can see from the picture above, the book is not only informative and full of fun ideas, it is also full of eye-candy illustrations and well-chosen fonts. It’s the kind of book you want to curl up with (along with your tea and scones, of course) and flip through again and again.
The craft for August is a paper garden model which the authors have generously provided as a free printable download from a website you gain access to when you purchase the book. It provides the perfect backdrop for the paper doll cutouts of the characters provided in October, also available on the website.
Directions for how to play Blind Man’s Bluff and Red Rover, garden games common to the time period, are included in August as well. I was shocked to find that my children have never played Red Rover! Our attempts to play Blind Man’s Bluff were lots of fun but ended badly with a trip to the emergency room, surgical glue, and a black eye as you can see below, so please take the author’s warnings to “make sure there aren’t obstructions or other hazards” to heart when you try this one! 🙂
The August section concludes with a character sketch of the author, Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved reading her life story and imagining her sitting in her own secret garden penning this classic tale.
I can honestly say that there is nothing I would change about this book. I love it and whole-heartedly give it five stars! It makes for a lovely coffee table book, a perfect planning guide for a birthday party, a literature study curriculum, and/or a fun Christmas gift.
With Christmas coming, I was thinking how fun it would be to make a Secret Garden gift basket for any little girls on your list! You could include the classic book itself, either a paperback or this deluxe hardcover edition, along with this beautiful companion guide we’ve been looking at as well as ingredients or craft supplies for some of the activities. You could also include the movie (which is delightful and less than $5!), and I came across this Secret Garden Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book as well as 20 colorable postcards by Johanna Basford. What little girl wouldn’t enjoy receiving that basket!!? And I can actually think of a few boys who would enjoy it too as this really isn’t a girly book.
(All of the above links to Amazon are my affiliate links. If you click on them and buy the product I’ve suggested or go on to buy something else, I will make a small commission which helps us continue our work here. Thank you!)
About the Author: Valarie Budayr
Valarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website, www.jumpintoabook.com, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.
She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.
Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters
Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website, www.thetoymaker.com, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.
She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymaker’s Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymaker’s Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).
A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)
Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)
WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)
Cherry Mischievous (Excerpt)
Hope to Read (Excerpt)
Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)
Enter Here Canada (Excerpt)
Books, Babies and Bows (Book Review)
Monique’s Musings (Book Review)
SOS-Supply (Book Review)
Randomly Reading (Book Review)
Adalinc to Life (Book Review)
100 Pages a Day (Book Review)
Edventures With Kids (Book Review)
Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Book Review)
Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)
Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)
Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)
Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)
Purple Monster Coupons (Excerpt)
Stacking Books (Book Review)
Oh My Bookness (Book Review)
Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Book Review)
The Blended Blog (Book Review)
All Done Monkey (Book Review)
Geo Librarian (Book Review)
Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)
My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Book Review)
Christy’s Cozy Corners (Book Review)
My Life, Loves and Passions (Book Review)
Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)
Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking (Book Review)
Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)
Jane Ritz (Book Review)
Rockin’ Book Reviews (Book Review)
I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (Book Review)
Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)
Mommynificent (Book Review)
This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)
Java John Z’s (Author/Illustrator Interview)
* $100 Blog Tour Giveaway *
Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: December 7, 11:59 pm, 2014
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.