Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Peas to the Table

First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden
by Susan Grigsby; illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
32 pages, ages 6 and up
Albert Whitman & Company, 2012

This book mixes gardening, Thomas Jefferson, and nurturing friendship into one satisfying story. Maya is in the same class as her best friend Shakayla, and they both want to win the "first peas to the table" contest. It's based on a challenge Thomas Jefferson used to present his neighbors: who could grow the earliest peas?

Shakayla raids the recycle closet and plants many kinds of peas. Maya scours the wisdom of TJ's gardening journals and decides to test a few of his tricks on just one variety. Then there's the ethical dilemma of whether to help her friend after a windstorm blows down the trellises.

This book is part science experiment, part competition, and a whole lot of fun to read - with notes about Jefferson's gardening at the back and tons of references for those of us who just gotta know more.

Review copy borrowed from a library.

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