It’s summer in Harlem, New York City! For the Vanderbeekers, that means freedom, summer camps, and sleepovers. But all doesn’t seem to go as planned. After their upstairs neighbor suffers a stroke and is rushed to the hospital, the Vanderbeeker kids set out to make the most magical garden to welcome him in his return. Nothing from thorns and thistles, to Mr. Huxley and his luxurious condominiums, is going to stop them. Come experience the warmth of the family and friends on 141st Street in Karina Yan Glaser’s second book, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden.
Karina Yan Glaser fails, literally fails, to disappoint me. Once again she has filled her book to near exploding with laughter, love, conundrum, loyalty, and bunnies. She has a beautiful way of penning the most lovely childish themes into her books. Though she doesn’t have an eloquent style filled with fancy metaphors and literary geniuses, she still tells the story simply and understandably. Her writing is easy for a 1st grader to understand, yet, is still interesting for a 40-year-old to read.
Though I have said this before, I must reiterate and say that the Vanderbeeker children are absolutely adorable! They get into so much trouble in so little time, and their miraculous redemptions are just that…miracles. In a way, they are like a couple less problematic Curious Georges roaming around New York City. They always have good intentions, yet those intentions get skewed by the actions that must be taken to fulfill them. I think that this is so applicable to stuff we (real people) experience. I am always on the lookout for characters in books that are realistic. I love that Karina Yan Glaser’s characters are just that. (Btw, Laney is my favorite character, although I love them all. She is so cute!!)
The only (literally the only) problem I’ve had with all three of these books that I’ve read are the parents. They are sweet, loving parents that adore their kids and each other, which is so beautiful to read. However, though the Vanderbeeker kids do not require much discipline, their parents have only disciplined their kids ONCE in all three of these books. Both parents work WAY too much and seem to love their work more than their kids. So, they are never around to discipline or even scold their children. Also, the leave their kids unattended constantly in their complex in NYC. However, I do not think this factor takes away from the enjoyment of this book.
I am sorry that this is such a short review. One would assume that my love for the book(s) would result in longer reviews. Yes, technically this is true. However, if I went on and on about what I love about the book, you would feel as if you’ve already read the book. So, I must cut this one short to prevent any spoilers from such an entertaining book.
Overall, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden is a lovely and clean children’s book that will send you into smiles and giggles. It is an easy read for older readers, yet, will still be sped through even by your 3rd graders, too. As I previously stated there is no profanity of any kind and the only triggers/annoyances/etc. is the lack of good parenting. I recommend this book to ages 8+. Thanks for reading my review. God bless!