I like gardens. And I like children's books. So what is there not to like about Sven Nordqvist's A Ruckus in the Garden? It's a charming picture book with a fun story and another thing I really like: a cat.
Farmer Pettson is trying to plant his garden. He plants seeds for carrots and onions, peas and beans, and he plants seed potatoes. Findus the cat isn't very interested in any of that, so he tries to plant a meatball instead, to see if it will grow him more meatballs. But then the chickens come and dig up the garden, trying to find worms.
Pettson and Findus decide to replant. But again, the garden gets dug up. This time it's the neighbor's pig who does the damage.
So Pettson and Findus build a fence around the garden and replant. But before they go to bed, Pettson asks the cat if he'd like to stand guard over the garden. Findus isn't very excited about that idea, but the farmer comes up with a plan where Findus can watch from the tree house. They set up an alarm so that Findus can wake the farmer if there is any trouble. and the cat is set to keep watch over the garden all night long. But the night is dark, and cats get sleepy.
And then the neighbor's cows can get in. It takes a clever cat to get the cows back to their own field, so that Pettson and Findus can fix the garden once again.
A Ruckus in the Garden is an adorable and fun read for kids. With themes of perseverance in the face of challenges and using clever ideas to solve problems, it teaches kids not to give up, but instead to come up with new ways of looking at their problems to make solutions easier. And there's a cat. What more could you ask for?
Galleys for A Ruckus in the Garden were provided by North South Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.