One Small Garden


56 pages
ISBN 0-88776-475-4
DDC j635





Illustrations by Barry Moser
Reviewed by Nancy W. Dixon

Nancy W. Dixon is an elementary-school English teacher with the
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.


A collection of “little stories—parts of stories—the kinds of
things that usually aren’t written down,” One Small Garden is the
history of a patch of ground, over 100 years old, a little garden in
Cabbagetown, Toronto.

Dawn brings a family of raccoons, rambling through the garden, climbing
over the old garage roof to delight in the berries of the Virginia
Creeper, then disappearing out of sight, seeming to “vanish into thin
air.” Garden memories include the two little girls who tried to cut
down a tree with scissors; Butch, the stray tomcat who, despite much
coaxing, prefers to remain an outdoor “pet”; and the tree of heaven,
so-called because it grew fast and tall, as if reaching up to the sky.
Garden secrets are revealed, such as who pulled the yellow tulips, why
the gardener didn’t return and, in the end, where the raccoons
vanished to over the years.

Barry Moser’s gentle watercolors grace many of the 56 pages of this
small, hardcover book, complementing Barbara Nichol’s simple yet
meaningful and informative text.

Written as a child’s book, One Small Garden introduces the young
reader to a myriad of nature’s miracles, that “nectar is a liquid
sugar—a food for tiny animals—hidden in the flowers,” that all
living things have methods to protect themselves from danger, even
plants, like poison ivy. To the adult reader, it offers a reflective
journey. A book to be enjoyed by all ages, over and over again, One
Small Garden is highly recommended.


Nichol, Barbara., “One Small Garden,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,