I Heard It From Alice Zucchini: Poems About The Garden

In Celebration of Poetry Month

I Heard It From Alice Zucchini: Poems About The Garden by Juanita Havill
Illustrated by Christine Davenier

I have to admit a bias about this book right up front. The author, Juanita Havill, lives in Arizona and loves to garden. Anyone who can successfully garden in Arizona gets my respect right away.

The poems in this book make me feel like I’m a small person wandering through an actual garden, or perhaps even one of the plants, getting to know those around me in a down to earth way. Peas, beans, carrots and dill all get their turn in the spotlight, as well the garden creatures such as worms, crickets and bees.

The scientist in me does ponder the events of one poem, “Sweet Cicely and the Bee.” The bee is “an elegant gentleman bee.” Although honey bees do produce males, they spend almost their entire short lives in the hive and do not visit flowers. All the honey bees you see at flowers are technically females. To give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Havill knows a lot about bees and was thinking of the tiny male “sleeper” bees that do spend the night in flowers. Perhaps she could let us know?

This book is a wonderful companion to a gardening project because it lends another level of interest. I would recommend it as a companion for cooking activities as well, because it connects children to where their food comes from. Havill includes a poem “Vegetable Stew” that just cries out to be paired with a nice warm bowl of ratatouille. Yum!

Reading level: Ages 9-12 (other reviewers suggest k-3 and k-6)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 23, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0811839621
ISBN-13: 978-0811839624


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day.

3 Replies to “I Heard It From Alice Zucchini: Poems About The Garden”

  1. Sleeper bees, yes — although is it true that sleepers can also be female? It was Alice Zucchini, who told me about Sweet Cicely and the gentleman bee, so you know
    what that means.

    It was a joy to discover your comments in recognition of Poetry Month, and I
    will take all of the encouragement I can get for gardening in Arizona. This year
    has been a humdinger of a challenge, what with a warm spell early in the spring, a late frost, dry winter, and hungry deer and rock squirrels. I have to admit that gardening in the desert was more predictable than at the higher elevations of Arizona. If the monsoon comes before July, all is forgiven.

  2. How nice to hear from you! Yes, the clusters of bees found sleeping in flowers can be made up of both males and females, although the females are more likely to sleep in their nests once they’ve constructed them.

    We’ve recently read Grow and really enjoyed it. We are a fan of cats as well.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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