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April’s Garden

Catalina Echeverri

Graffeg (5+) 9781802583410 (Paperback)

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The story opens as April and her mum flee in the night to an impersonal, drab-looking house.  The journey they take is all depicted visually.  The illustrations carry this powerfully and readers are left with a tangible sense of April’s fear and displacement.  Nature is presented as healing and regenerative, giving the book its sense of hope as April plants some free seeds and her story develops as they grow.

So much is gradually revealed through the illustrations and there are rich details to explore and flesh out.  Nothing is told or is easy, but rather the reader is given space to piece together events. There’s a beautiful sense of continuity achieved through details like the picture April draws. April is the main character and is foregrounded, but we also have a sense of the trauma that her mother has experienced and the support received by the refuge lady. There are numerous individual stories and each detail can be read with different perspectives and experiences. Outstanding use of colour depicts changes in moods and feelings and there are visual clues throughout adding layers to the story told by the text. 

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Catalina Echeverri

Catalina Echeverri was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and now lives in London with her Northern Irish husband and their three daughters. Before settling in the UK, Catalina spent time in Italy studying graphic design and eating pizza and ice cream whenever she could. Once she’d eaten all, she moved to Cambridge to study children’s book illustration and has worked in children’s publishing ever since. Having illustrated more than 20 books in various countries, Catalina is never without her sketchbook and loves to take inspiration from everyday life. She particularly enjoys working on projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Shadowers' reviews and artwork

I thought it was a good book that my group looked at because April's mum wanted to move to a new house because the old house was not a good place to live. I would think that children 7 years old would enjoy looking at this book.

hayden

Brooke Weston Book Busters

To be fair I liked it, because it included some of the family, house and some emotional problems. Also, I just enjoyed it because it had cool pictures! I think that young children 10-15 years old will actually understand what the thought and meaning behind the book is - in particular the problems and what she is feeling.

Rozalia

Brooke Weston Book Busters

I liked the book because it shows a girl who moved house and her emotions about moving home. I recommend age 8+ because they can read it but it could be upsetting to 5 year olds.

lucienne

Brooke Weston Book Busters

Aprils garden is a wonderful book and I recommend it. It starts off sad and gloomy but at the end April is very happy. April and her mum then move into a new and lovely house together. The message is that there is always hope.

Lily

Rebel Readers

This book was great. I quite honestly didn't understand what it was about at first and just thought it was about a young girl thriving even though she was living in a horrible environment, but my friend explained that it was about April moving away from an abusive household. The use of colours shows this too, since in the start it's very grey and dingy to show that April is upset and then at the end April is happy and it's shown through very bright colours. The author (illustrator?) also uses the flowers that April grows to show that someone can grow even in the worst environments, and even when the seeds are just planted it gives April something to have hope about and the full growth of the flowers at the end of the book could show that April is finally content and is no longer fearful, rather feeling free in her new home. In this book, nature is presented as healing, and we are again showed this through the flowers as April seems much happier when they've bloomed fully than when they were simply little seeds. Additionally, the flowers are all very vibrant and not only do they add to the vibrant environment in the end that shows April's freedom and happiness, but they could represent her emotions. In an abusive (or overall traumatic) environment many people are forced to repress their emotions and the full blooming of April's colourful flowers could show that not only has she grown, but she has learned to show her emotions and is comfortable with knowing that showing them is normal.

Tilly

Reading allowed

April’s Garden is a good book to teach children that good things will happen but it takes patience for that to happen. A quote from the book is Every Cloud has a Silver Lining.

Splendor

St James Hatcham Book Club