Since summer is a time for breaking routines and seeing where the wind might take you, it’s the perfect season to reach for picture books that celebrate adventure. It’s also a time when parents tend to grasp for ideas to keep their little ones occupied. Why not combine the two?
Lisa Anchin’s The Little Green Girl is a sweet and imaginative tale of love and wanderlust that just so happens to pair nicely with a fun outdoor activity that your family can turn to all summer long — as long as you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and getting a little dirty!
The Little Green Girl begins with a tiny little seed blowing into Mr. Aster’s garden. While Mr. Aster lives for habits and routines set in his no-nonsense world, a new seed happens to suit him just fine. He tends to her lovingly, making sure she has everything she needs before she turns into something extraordinary.
Once Little Green Girl emerges from her leaves, Mr. Aster brings her out to the garden and tells her all about their world. Making friends with the animals, Little Green Girl’s life is absolutely perfect — until the birds arrive and tell her stories of far off places.
Full of curiosity, Little Green Girl wants to see the world. Mr. Aster, however, is not so interested in what the rest of the world holds. “The world may be wide, little one, but there’s no need to leave our garden,” he tells her. “This is our home.”
Little Green Girl is not convinced. All she knows is that there is a big, wide world out there and she doesn’t want to miss it. She tries and tries to make her way out of the garden until Mr. Aster realizes adventure is something his little one needs. Putting his own love of routine aside, he packs up a suitcase and the pair (along with their dog) head out to see the world. But which one will return a changed creature?
With silly, world-enhancing illustrations and a plot that encourages empathy and questioning long-held beliefs, The Little Green Girl is a magical tale about a plant wanting to loosen her roots and broaden her horizons. It’s the perfect story to read before starting a magical garden of your own.
Inspired by The Little Green Girl, my daughter and I created a fairy village of sorts by setting a few potted plants next to each other in order to better allow fairies to travel between them when they’re ready to expand their own horizons! We chose plants that smell divine (lavender), some that attract butterflies (balloon flowers), and even kept a pot of weeds and moss (they’re plants too! Plus, they leave some space for play). Below the fairy village, we filled a tray with sand and blue glass gems (the kind you use for vase fillers) to create a little beach for our fairies who really need to get away.
You can create a magical fairy garden village of your own in so many different ways (you also don’t have to use fairies at all — dinosaurs, action figures, and miniature dolls work, too). If you don’t want to use potted plants, garden beds and long buckets are just as fun and you can even have kids plant and tend to seedlings on their own as part of this adventure. All you really need is a little imagination and a willingness to let kids get a little dirty and play in your plants.