THE ENCHANTED GARDEN: A Book Review by Guest Blogger, Josie Murdock

The Enchanted Garden, by Erin Greneaux, with illustrations by Taisiia Kolisnyk is about two sisters who discover a magical garden in the woods behind their backyard. The fantastic garden is filled with mystical plants and a garden fairy.  The garden is watched over by a great, golden eagle known as The Gardener who befriends the girls and invites them to become Gold Feather gardeners.  All is well until the girls ignore the Gardener’s instructions and plunge the garden into danger.  Only an act of supreme sacrifice by the Gardener can put things right again, and the girls must learn to believe and obey the Gardener if the garden is to be saved.  

This book reminded me of Pilgrim’s Progress and the Narnia stories, with its engaging allegorical style and clear Christian redemption story. Some children’s books seem to tell a good story and just slap a Bible verse at the end as the lesson to be learned.  But in this book, the author seamlessly and naturally wove the spiritual lesson throughout the plot of the book.  Because the moral is tightly embedded into the characters’ reality, whenever you think of this story, you will definitely remember the lesson.    

The book is set up with short chapters and  is the first in a series that I think would be suitable for ages  5-12 (or older, if you’re a fairy girl!).  The story is  well developed, colorfully told and of a reasonable length for a short chapter book. My older sister read it out loud and I found it a very good read-aloud story experience. 

I liked the artwork too. The backgrounds, animals and fairy were all skillfully drawn and colorful, and helped with my imagination of the story. (I had never heard of a purple fairy in a story before!) 

The plant descriptions were very imaginative, and clearly the creation of an author who also loves to garden.  I could almost smell the flowers described in the garden. 

I couldn’t tell how old the girls were supposed to be. When I read, I like to know a character’s age, so I know what to expect of them and how to relate. I could tell that one sister was older, but I had trouble placing their ages in my mind. 

I believe anyone could appreciate this story, even though it’s written for younger children.   My 18-year-old sister really enjoyed reading it with me, but we are both fans of fairies and gardens.  I know some people do not approve of tales with magical worlds or fairies, but I think the message of the book is carried well by the fanciful story and is a good introduction to allegory and fantasy genres for younger readers as well as a good vehicle for the powerful message.  I look forward to more exciting adventures to come!  

Josie Murdock is 10 years old and lives with her family on a research farm in South Carolina.  She is homeschooled and loves reading, drawing, and foxes.  She last blogged for W2I when she reviewed three Imagination Station books written by Marianne Herring and Nancy I. Sanders.


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