Reviewed by Aimee Durning
Herbert’s Garden is a hybrid book (fiction & non-fiction) about a common garden slug called Herbert. Herbert is a thoughtful chap, who on this particular evening suffers from a bout of self-doubt. During these twilight hours and long into the night he questions whether he belongs in the garden or not, alongside all the other wonderful garden creatures.
Once Herbert and the Limax gang have finally finished munching their way through the supply of luscious lettuces. They decide to set off to discover a new food supply. Journeying through beautifully illustrated flora and fauna, Herbert is astounded and ever so slightly envious by the creativity of the insects in the garden. He wishes he could weave shimmering webs like spiders, or create wonderful underground worlds like ants. Herbert does eventually realise his own value to the garden, lightly introducing the theme of self-belief and the value of difference.
Every now and again, it is important to stop what you are doing and appreciate the beautiful ecology of your back garden or Local Park. Spend some time gazing up at the trees, enjoy the birdsong and butterflies or search for a colony of ants. Lara Hawthorne provides several reference pages at the end of the book with helpful hints on how to look after the creatures in your own garden; maybe you could build a pond or create a bug hotel in your back garden.
I recommend Herbert’s Garden should be available to all children in primary schools, especially if your school is lucky enough to have its own garden or allotment. It would lead nicely into nature topics and more challenging texts such as A Year in the Wild.