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Books for kids on gardening, exploring the back yard
Terri Schlichenmeyer
Things for Kids to Do This Summer
c.2022, various publishers, $12.99 - $18.95, various page counts

Don’t look now.
No, don’t. Because if you do, you’ll see that school is starting soon. Summer’s more than half over and you haven’t done even a portion of the things you wanted to do this summer. You need more bike-riding time. You need more time in the pool and more hours with your friends. You need to check out these three great books, to see what else you might be missing...
Do you know what’s in your back yard? Really, down to the dirt? If you don’t, then take a peek at “Expedition Backyard” by Rosemary Mosco and Binglin Hu (RH Graphic, $12.99). It’s the story of Mole and Vole and the adventure of a lifetime.
On a series of beautiful days, the two friends travel from their side-by-side homes on a walk through the woods, in the country, through the city, and around the trees to see what’s there. Along the way, there are birds to watch, wildlife to avoid (eek!), and interesting things to study. Written in graphic novel form, this book is great for kids ages 7-to-10 and will prod them to notice what’s beneath their feet and over their heads.
There’s still enough time to plant a small garden and grow some yummy vegetables, and “Seeds in Soil” by Susan Apps-Bodilly (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, $18.95) will show you how to do it.
Chances are, you’ve spent a pretty fair amount of time playing in the dirt, but this book tells you how to get dinner by doing it. From knowing your soil and making it perfect, to determining the kind of garden you want, this book helps kids learn how to garden – but that’s not all. There’s a few pages here on putting food up for the winter, a chapter on growing flowers and herbs, recipes for kids, and there are projects to do that’ll keep them busy all winter long. Though this book is quite a bit Wisconsin-centric, its information will appeal to 8-to-13-year-olds from any geographic area.
And once you’ve harvested the vegetables, what will you do with them? Find more ideas inside “Ultimate Food Atlas” (National Geographic Kids, $12.99). Any young foodie will drool over this book, with history, quizzes and geography inside, and there are all kinds of fast facts that kids love to know. Take your stomach on a trip through each of the continents, learn about the types of breakfast foods people eat in other lands, find some recipes to try, and read about other kids’ favorite desserts. This is one of those books that any 8-to-13-year-old will love to browse – especially if they love to eat.
If these great books don’t fill the time for your favorite kid, be sure to ask your local librarian or bookseller. There are so many new books and old favorites that can make this summer the best one ever – all you have to do is ask. In the meantime, these three books are absolutely worth a look right now.