About the Holiday
If the showers of April have dried up where you are and the May flowers are getting a bit thirsty, today’s holiday makes the perfect reminder to fill the watering can or turn on the sprinkler and give them a drink. Colorful flowers are some of the joys of summer and provide food for birds and insects all season long. If you haven’t begun your garden yet, it’s not too late! Grab a packet of seeds or visit your local nursery and see what a wonderful, wild patch you can grow!
Lola Plants a Garden
Written by Anna McQuinn |Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Lola has a book of garden poems that she absolutely loves. Her favorite poem is: “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, / How does your garden grow? / With silver bells / and cockleshells / and pretty maids all in a row.” She likes that poem so much, in fact, that it has inspired her to plant her own garden. Lola’s “mommy says there is room near the vegetables.”
Lola checks out a stack of books about flowers from the library and with Mommy’s help makes a list of her favorites. “They go to the garden store to buy seeds.” At home Lola and Mommy dig in the dirt and drop in the seeds. Lola uses the “seed packets to mark where the flowers are planted.” Then Lola waits. While waiting she uses the time to create her own book about flowers. She cuts paper petals, stems and leaves and even adds a butterfly. “Mommy types the Mary Mary poem, and Lola glues it in.”
After that, Lola threads some silver bells onto a string. She places several shells on her shelf and adds some beads as well. With wood, cloth, and yarn, Lola “even makes a little Mary Mary.” At last, Lola sees green shoots popping out of the ground. She carefully pulls up weeds around her plants. Day by day, her flowers grow taller and “open up to the sun.”
When the garden is in full bloom, Lola’s daddy helps her hang the string of bells above it. Mary Mary is given her own special spot too. When her little plot looks perfect, Lola invites her friends to see her garden. She and Mommy make cupcakes, and Lola wears a flowered shirt, flowers in her hair, and a beaded bracelet.
Lola’s friends love the garden. “They share the crunchy peas and sweet strawberries that Mommy grew.” While the four friends enjoy the cupcakes and juice, Lola entertains them with a story starring her Mary Mary doll. Already Lola is thinking about what garden she will plant next.
Little ones will be excited to meet Lola, whose love of flowers and the “Mary Mary” poem spurs her creativity in so many directions—from gardening to crafting to cooking to pretending. Anna McQuinn’s engaging story shows how reading can inspire action, and puts Lola in charge of making her vision come true. With simple yet lovely storytelling, McQuinn taps into children’s desires to reenact what they see and read and to share their successes with others. Through her work, Lola becomes the subject of her own “Lola Lola” poem, which closes the book.
Rosalind Beardshaw’s Lola is an adorable and determined girl with an ever-present smile. Young readers will love being invited into Lola’s home, going along to the garden store, watching her flowers bloom into glorious colors, and joining her picnic with friends. Seeing the progression of all of Lola’s projects may motivate readers to copy her—which would make for a fun summer activity!
Lola Plants a Garden will captivate fans of Lola’s other adventures and make new readers want to discover them all. The book would make a great addition to home libraries as Lola will quickly become a friend children will want to visit with again and again. Lola Plants a Garden has recently been published in paperback in English and Spanish editions
Ages 2 – 5
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2017 (Paperback)| ISBN 978-1580896955 (English); 978-1580897860 (Spanish)
Discover more about Anna McQuinn, her books, and her work with children on her website!
Visit Rosalind Beardshaw’s website to learn more about her books and artwork!
You can join Lola in her adventures with these fun activities on the Alanna Books website!
National Water a Flower Day Activity
Plant a Flower Garden Game
With this fun game you and your family and friends can grow gardens inside! Roll the dice to see whose garden will fully blossom first!
- Printable Flower Garden Plot Game Board
- Printable Flower Garden Playing Cards
- Printable Flower Garden Playing Die
- Black or brown crayon (optional)
- Card stock or heavy paper for printing (optional)
Object: The object of the game is for each player to fill their garden or garden rows with flowers. Depending on the ages of the players, the game can be adjusted to fill all of the rows, some or all rows, or just one.
- Print one Game Board for each player
- Print one or more sets of Flower Playing Cards for each player, depending on how (for sturdier playing items, print on card stock)
- Cut the flowers into their individual playing cards
- Print one Flower Playing Die and assemble it (for a sturdier die, print on card stock)
- Color the “dirt” on the Garden Plot with the crayon (optional)
- Choose a player to go first
- The player rolls the die and then “plants” the flower rolled in a row on the game board
- Play moves to the person on the right
- Players continue rolling the die and “planting” flowers until each of the number of determined rows have been filled with flowers or one row has been filled with all six flowers.
- The first person to “grow” all of their flowers wins!
You can find Lola Plants a Garden at these booksellers
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review