Patricia Polacco is known to many readers as a master storyteller. She uses real life experiences, true stories passed down to her, and her own imagination to create some of the most memorable children’s books that kids have owned. Not only does Polacco fashion stories that reach to
a wide audience of kids, but she also illustrates all her own books with vivid imagery and bold colors that kids adore.
In Enzo’s Splendid Garden is a goofy story that takes on a domino-like effect. It all starts when a young boy decides to watch a fuzzy bee bumble around the tree in the garden. From there, everything goes haywire! His choice to pay attention to the bee leads to his dropping of a book, which in turn trips a passing waiter, who then ends up spilling his tray of drinks all over the matron, and covered in drinks, the matron bumps into a group of ladies, and so the chain continues throughout the restaurant, eventually involving characters like a cat, a fireman, and even the owner of the restaurant himself, Enzo! Kids will giggle and laugh as the whole crazy chain of events rocks throughout the restaurant, reading along and enjoying the verse that Polacco uses to tell the story. Though the story is for kids ages 6 and up, some may have an easier time with a few words than others, but moms and dads can easily fill them in when tougher phrases show up. Kids will really take pleasure in Polacco’s famous illustrations. In Enzo’s Splendid Garden demands plenty of hectic imagery, and Polacco most certainly delivers. With rich colors, details carefully drawn in pencil, and watercolor to fill everything in, the scenes are wild and chaotic where they need to be, but ultimately ending in a happy way, even if the entire place is a bit of a mess! Polacco draws upon her real life and mixes it in with fictional wackiness for In Enzo’s Splendid Garden, as Enzo is actually her husband and he really does own an Italian restaurant. She even sneaks in a few portraits of the two of them in the story!