Paul Fleischman creates another fascinating reading experience in this story of a young boy who has not fit in with his peers. His parents know, he knows, just about everyone knows. He has been teased because of his eccentric ways. One day when Wesley was reading outloud his school lessons his father prompted him, in a teasing way, to start his own garden and this is where the whole idea of creating a garden of his own was created.
Wesley grew all sorts of exotic fruit-bearing plants that taste of "peach, strawberry, pumkin pie, and flavors he had no name for." He eventually used these fruits to make juice. He then uses a flower stalk as a sundial to tell time (he no longer uses a watch) and he invented a new language based on a 80-letter alphabet. Now he had the classmates that once tormented him curious about all the new inventions he was creating. Wesley's parents noticed that he was now happy and when he returned to school in September he had no shortage of friends (they all learned to appreciate his talents).
Paul Fleischman dove deep into an area that the "not-so-cool" kid falls into. Fortunately, like Bill Gates and other such entreprenors kids can now explore there needs to be essentric because those are the children that conquer the world.
The illustrator, Hawk, uses acrylic paints to capture the organic feeling this book gives you as Wesley makes hats out of the plant stawks and grows these vibrant fruit-bearing plants. "It's difficult to imagin a better pairing than Fleischman and Hawk to bring this a one-of-a-kind kid and his universe vividly to life." (Publishers Weekly).
Kevin Hawk, the illustrator, says, "It seems that all of my characters come from places whre the lampposts are never straight, the hills impossibly steep, and the skies impossibly blue." I can't imagine a better illustrator to team up with Fleischman because that is exactly how he writes.