One Little Lot
Diane C. Mullen, author
Diane C. Mullen is the author of the novel Tagged. One Little Lot is her first picture book and is loosely based on her life in the bustling city of Minneapolis, where she shares in a community garden with her neighbors. Diane also works at the renowned Walker Art Center.
Read more about Diane.
Oriol Vidal, illustrator
Oriol Vidal is an illustrator of many books for children, including the Time Jumpers and Hello Genius series. He is also a storyboard artist. Oriol lives in Barcelona, Spain.
Read more about Oriol.
- Coming soon!
One empty lot needs two helping hands, three days of cleanup, and so on to become a community garden “full of delicious!”
In, mostly, aerial or elevated views, Vidal’s bright, painted illustrations track the lot’s transformation from a (tidy-looking, admittedly) dumping ground behind a rusty chain-link fence. Echoing the multiethnic and multiracial nature of the group of neighbors who gather to do the work (white-presenting figures are in the minority), the eventual crops include bok choy, collard greens, and kittley along with beans, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes—all of which end up incorporated in the climactic spread into a community dinner spread out on tables among the planting boxes. Typically of such garden-themed picture-book tributes, the spirit of community and joy at the eventual bounty elbow out any real acknowledgement of the necessary sweat equity (there’s not even a glancing reference to weeding here, for instance) or the sense of an entire season’s passing between planting and harvest. Also, as that public feast is created by considerably more than “Ten newfound friends,” the counting is just a conceit. Mullen closes with notes on the actual garden in Minneapolis that inspired her and on making gardens bee-friendly.
It breaks no new ground, but even the worms are smiling. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2