Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gardens Transform the World: Review of The Curious Garden

Tonight we read The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. My daughter and I admired the transformation of a dreary city - brown, smoky and people-less - into a green, bustling, and flower-bedecked world. The agents of change? A small boy and a garden. The new green world was not unlike a vision I had while writing Sacred Land, a world where every rooftop, empty lot, playground, park, and yard grew food, flowers, and herbs.

The painter and architect Hundertwasser had similar visions. From Wikipedia: "For Hundertwasser, human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, monotonous architecture, built following the tradition of the Austrian architect Adolf Loos ("Ornament and Crime"). He called for a boycott of this type of architecture, and demanded instead creative freedom of building, and the right to create individual structures. In 1972 he published the manifesto Your window right — your tree duty. Planting trees in an urban environment was to become obligatory: 'If man walks in nature's midst, then he is nature's guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest.'"

This is a housing development designed by Hundertwasser. It looks a lot like the city at the end of The Curious Garden!

I highly recomend The Curious Garden to any parent of a 3 to 9 year old. After reading it you could draw pictures of a garden city your child might design, plant flowers in a pot, design a new garden for your yard, research wind energy, or just compare and contrast the first illustration with the last.

No comments: