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Charles Bruckerhoff
Adelyn's Adventure in the Garden
Charles Bruckerhoff, author and publisher

Middle Grade; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

In the second book of Adelyn's Adventure Series, a little girl chooses to explore the garden her grandparents plant every year. She meets different creatures, each doing its duties for Mother Nature. The garden is where they start life, follow instinct to do their work, and die. Real life is hard. Creatures constantly search for food and build shelters. They must keep watch for enemies and defend their territory. The garden is also a symbol. This is the Garden of Earth, after the Garden of Eden. It reminds humans they do not follow instinct. They must make decisions about the problems they face. They must work for things they need. They have a duty to take care of the plants, animals, soil, water and air. They must have self-respect and respect others. Adelyn learns that work in the Garden of Earth helps humans discover the path to a good life.
Adelyn is back in the second of Bruckerhoff’s Adelyn’s Adventure series, and this time she is reveling in the beauty of her grandparents’ garden in the country. After a day of hard work outside pulling weeds, Adelyn is exhausted and ready for bed–but excited to explore the garden in the morning. With a fresh breakfast of cornbread and fruit in her tummy, she sets out with her grandfather’s trusty basket to roam and soon discovers the garden is a treasure trove of excitement. Starting at the arbor gate entrance, Adelyn ventures through the winding paths to explore fragrant herbs, blooming flowers, and luscious fruits and vegetables.

Striking watercolor illustrations with a vintage feel grace the pages, and Bruckerhoff's storytelling speaks to all of the senses. Adelyn whispers “this must be Paradise” at the sights and sounds, and readers will be able to smell the garden’s aroma of fresh rain and earthy soil right alongside her. Those familiar with the first in the series will welcome Adelyn’s quick visits with her old animal friends, though she meets new ones along the way: a ruby-throated hummingbird takes a break from sipping nectar to share some survival skills, and a garden spider speaks, surprisingly, with “a DownEast, Maine accent, in Gregorian chant.”

Christian readers will appreciate the references to biblical stories throughout, most notably Adelyn’s lesson on how the Garden of Eden relates to the harmony found in an earthly garden. She continually uses her grandparents’ teachings as a guide, including reminding herself that every choice has a consequence, and she likens the layout and structure of the garden to her own “moral compass.” The author manages to work some science into the story as well, with insight on the garden’s compass rose for navigation. A self-proclaimed nature lover, Bruckerhoff’s deep love of the wonder of the natural world is charmingly reflected in this tale.

Takeaway: A determined young girl reflects on life lessons in her grandparents’ garden in this multi-layered tale.

Great for fans of: Charity Rios’s My Heart’s Garden, Tim McCanna’s In A Garden.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-