My Mother's Garden by Emila Yusof (OneRedFlower Press, 2010) follows a little girl as she spends the day in her mother's garden. This little girl looks shy and reserved, but one can tell through her expressive eyes and through her story that she has a rich and lively imagination. She watches birds, she dances with butterflies and dragonflies, she imagines that she is a flower with a head of silky petals... until it starts raining and she must go back indoors. Once indoors, she is already looking forward to when the rain stops and she can play in her mother's garden again.
I was pleasantly surprised by the end of the story: The flowers and other plants found in the little girl's garden playground are shown again, this time with their scientific names, English names, and Malay names. This will greatly satisfy the sense of wonder and the curiosity in little minds - as well as greatly satisfy their parents' desire to buy picture books with "added value" (read: books with "lessons").
I have read My Mother's Garden many times, and each time I have been quietly stunned. The sparse text, the simple and beautiful storyline, and the lush, warm illustrations (watercolor + digital rendering by the self-taught author/illustrator) make it one of the most charming and inviting picture books I have ever encountered. It's perfect reading for wee ones who love playing outdoors! My only quibble with the book is that its title, author/illustrator, and publisher are not on the spine. All this information should be visible on a book spine. This delightful book will not always be face out in bookstores and libraries, and readers should be able to pick it out from among other books on a shelf.
[My copy of My Mother's Garden was provided by the publisher.]