By: Laura Lamb
Illustrated by: Mary Barrows
Publisher: Forever Publishing
Publication Date: October 2021
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 10, 2021
A girl who learns about the beauty of nature, and by getting closer to nature, learning more about herself, is the focus of debut author Laura Lamb's new book, Chelsea's Forever Garden.
As the story opens, it's a beautiful spring day and Chelsea is very, very excited. She can't believe her good fortune, because her parents have just given her a plot of land. Her very own space, her very own garden, a place where she can do whatever she wants. What a fantastic opportunity for Chelsea!
Chelsea rushes to the spot her father pointed out and discovers a lovely white picket fence surrounding her new special place. She rushes through the gate and plops down on the ground, a big smile on her face. Surrounded by bees, birds, crickets and all sorts of wildlife, Chelsea can't imagine a more wonderful place.
Once Chelsea has had time to let the joy of her new plot of land sink in, she turns her attention to deciding what to do with the area. Should she pull out all the weeds first? Maybe. But then she notices that the weeds have flowers and those flowers are feeding the bees. Nope, she should leave the weeds right where they are. A garden would be fun. But that would mean shutting the gate to keep out all the little visitors who might feed on the food in the garden. Nope, that wouldn't work either.
Chelsea eventually realizes that her little piece of land is perfect the way it is - no changes needed. She discovers the wonders of the world as she sits in her special place and watches the sun come up in the morning, as well as simply enjoying the clouds pass by above her. The joy Chelsea finds in her special place soon seeps over into other aspects of her life. She is nicer to her brother, she doesn't mind the days when it rains because she knows her land needs the water, and she even sings and whistles while doing chores. As Chelsea grows into a teenage, however, school and other things get in the way, and she spends less and less time in her special place. She also grows unhappy, and things just aren't the same. What's wrong? After some thought, Chelsea realizes she misses those early days spent in her happy little plot of land. Will she ever be able to get that carefree feeling back?
Young people today are under a lot of stress. Whether from social media, school, or dealing with the pandemic, life has never been more chaotic. Finding a place, or a way, to relieve that stress is something that is greatly needed today. Author Laura Lamb clearly shows readers a way to deal with the anxiety they may be facing by showing how one special plot of land was able to cure one youngster of her troubles. We see how having such a place brought all sorts of positive changes to Chelsea's life. And while others may not have the option of getting a plot of land, Lamb shows how, through the story as well as questions she poses on the last page, a way all readers can find their own "special place."
Quill says: Chelsea's Forever Garden is a lovely tale that highlights how finding a special place can help improve all aspects of your life and even help you get through the more difficult days you may face.