I’m excited to finally get a chance to post about “How Does My Fruit Grow?” by a wonderful children’s author and illustrator Gerda Muller. I actually started this post a year ago. So finally I’m getting to finish it up. 🙂
Gerda Muller is one of our most loved children’s author. Every single book by this author is so beautifully illustrated. But what I also really love about her books is how much information is packed on each page. The information is presented in a form of a charming story that is easy for a child to relate and connect to.
You might have seen a blog post from a while ago about “How Does My Garden Grow?” book. The story is about a little girl Sophie, who arrives to her grandparents for summer. Grandparents live on a farm. On the first morning Sophie wakes up in a sunlit little attic room to a smell of hot cocoa and pancakes. And after the breakfast the grandpa takes her into a garden and gives her a little garden allotment where Sophie plants her own seeds. As the story goes on a child learns about how different vegetables grow, what is pollination and also about different garden creatures.
How does my fruit grow?
Just like “How does my garden grow?” this books opens up with a beautiful spread of various fruits and their corresponding flowers. It is a stunning illustration, and is a fun little game trying to guess which fruit and flower make a pair. A banana flower was quite a discovery for us. I never realized it looked like that, even as we bought and ate bananas for the most of our lives. 🙂
About the story: Moving from the city to South of France
In this book we follow Sophie (same girl from “How Does My Garden Grow?” book) first for a visit to her aunt’s house. There Sophie and her cousin Michael spend time in the garden, eating fruit, caring for the plants and having friends over and enjoy the summer.
One day Sophie gets a phone from her dad, telling her that he has a new job and it is in the South of France. And so Sophie’s family has to leave their city and relocating to the South of France.
Although it was very sad for Sophie to leave her friends behind and move to a new place, she soon made new friends. Sophie writes a sweet little letter to her city friends telling them how so many things are different here, even the way the hot air smells is different.
And as the seasons change Sophie and her new friends get to pick different fruits both at their own house, and then out on the forests. In the summer they go blueberry picking in the mountains. Later when it is autumn they go to the forest to collect walnuts, and Sophie also gets to pick wild blackberries and black raspberries out in the forest. And once the cold weather set in they visit dad’s friend and help them collect chestnuts.
At the end of the book, Sophie and her new school classmate make a wonderful exhibit about their favorite fruits , where they originated from and how they are grown. In this section of the book we got to learn a lot of new interesting information about tropical fruits and their growing environments.
Parallel to the book’s story there are some side illustrations, showing how a seed turns into a tree, or how a tree blossom turns into a fruit. Showing some of the garden creatures, as well as the names of different fruit and berries.
Above are just a few pages from this beautiful book. And in contrast to many modern books I came across here in US that have beautiful illustration, but very primitive story, this book is full of relevant information that children learn.
All and all, even for my children who spend their summers in the garden since their birth, this book gave us lots of new and interesting information. And as we really loved reading “How Does My Garden Grows?” book we were happy to meet Sophie again, and hope there will be more books about her in the future.
Books about good old childhood fun
Gerda Muller’s books create depictions of the childhood at its finest. A childhood world with no screens, where children are free to explore and connect with nature, be it at a farm, on a beach or a forest, or even in a city.
Gerda Muller’s books create depictions of the childhood at its finest. A childhood world with no screens, where children are free to explore and connect with nature, be it at a farm, on a beach or a forest, or even in a city. And I believe the influence of these books on children is so important nowadays, as children are often so removed from the natural world and the freedoms and knowledge it gives. And so they often find them perpetually bored and not knowing how to keep themselves entertained other than through a screen or parents taking them from one fun activity to another.
… I believe the influence of these books on children is so important nowadays, as children are often so removed from the natural world and the freedoms and knowledge it gives. And so they often find them perpetually bored and not knowing how to keep themselves entertained other than through a screen or parents taking them from one fun activity to another.
Looking around our own neighborhood, which is a rather standard suburban neighborhood in US, it is hard to see where a child belongs in all the perfectly manicured lawns and bushes that line the streets. Where should they explore, where can they build and break things, observe living creatures or taste wild berries or fruits? This modern form of childhood seems rather sterile to me, and is a universe away from everything I hold dear to my heart from my own childhood. And may be that’s why I especially love the books by Gerda Muller and the influence they have on my children.
In her books children make kites and climb apple trees in fall, they play snowballs and feed birds in winter, they wonder around the woods and build fords. Children enjoy the company of their parents, grandparents and friends. And of course they garden, eat fruit and berries they grew or picked in the forest. And children learn about the beautiful world around them not by reading about it on an iPad or through watching a movie, but by actually being a part of the world and interacting with it directly.
And children learn about the beautiful world around them not by reading about it on an iPad or through watching a movie, but by actually being a part of the world and interacting with it directly.
Our own garden
In closing, I wanted to share a few photos from our own garden. 🙂 Also, here on Instagram I have a selection of our various gardening photos from over the years: