This book is the reason why I write about picture books. I write about picture books because they offer a particular window into the genius and creativity of the human spirit. Picture books are able to touch on the simple, the complex, the whimsical, the sobering… all printed and bound and held in your hand. A Garden Of Ordinary Miracles: An Alphabet Book is not a normal, polished picture book. It is as if we are reading the exact, unedited nature journal of author Robert R. Zakanitch. Each spread of pages includes one side of raw sketches… really raw— you can even see the eraser smudges still on parts. And the other side of the page is a glorious, large scale watercolor of whatever flower he is illustrating for that letter. This is an important book.
It’s a book that is so beautiful it could be displayed on coffee tables. (Anthropologie thought so too.) It’s a book that makes someone like me want to rethink my whole resistance to doing a systematic ABC-preschool plan… just because I want to display a page from this book every day or week we cover that letter. Truth be told, I am not organized or dedicated enough to operate preschool in any sort of structured manner outside of “Let’s count how many Hot Wheels mommy pulls out of the toilet!” But still… the desire is there because of beautiful things like this.
I currently display pages from The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady in the window box above my sink… but I would be absolutely thrilled to display Garden on a homeschooling shelf or even as a centerpiece to my table during morning lessons. We have a divinely mandated duty to bring beauty in our homes… and owning, reading, displaying, and talking about this with our children would be an exemplary way to start.