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Here is a sweet little book for your toddler or pre-schooler. The Hidden World of Gnomes by Lauren Soloy, takes us into the woods and ponds and into the lives of the tiny little Gnomes who live there. And these Gnomes are so much fun, they describe the changes each season brings, and celebrating with fun chores and parties and songs. They find joy in every little thing in their woods. They help take care of the plants and animals and they do it all as a family or as a team.
Each story or vignette is one of two pages, usually with just a few lines. When reading this book with your child it will be the illustrations that tell so much of the story. You would just want to sit and ask your child what they see. Let them find the Gnome in the illustration, and let them enjoy telling you what the Gnome is doing that day. In this book the Gnomes are busy gathering mushrooms, combing the tails of squirrels to make them fluffy, observing butterfly chrysalis just waiting for the butterfly to emerge, babysitting little birds while their mothers are gathering food and making themselves costumes out of flowers. Your child will find lots to talk about with you.
Lauren Soloy is both author and illustrator of this very darling book. She spends a lot of time in nature, walking in the woods of Nova Scotia on Canada’s East Coast.
And what an observer she must be. She describes aspects of each season and what grows in the woods. Her thoughts meander like a nice stroll should. On one page she might introduce us to a work team of Gnomes, on another page we can do exercises with a Gnome or wonder at the joy of planting seeds and watching them grow. The Gnomes are friends of birds, butterflies and other insects, rabbits (who like them to scratch in between their ears), squirrels, foxes, wild geese and wild pigs. Humans don’t enter into their thoughts at all, which is probably just a well!
The Gnomes of Lauren Soloy’s Nova Scotia are chubby, tiny little creatures, very friendly looking, with diverse skin colors, really fun names and charming idiosyncrasies. They are not much like the traditional Gnomes you might have read about and don’t look like garden Gnome statues. Her Gnomes don’t grow whiskers until they bed down in winters to help them keep warm.
The colors in The Hidden World of Gnomes are calm, almost antique looking and won’t cause bouncy dreams or nightmares. It is very sweet, unique and a wonderful invitation to keep your eyes open to enjoy the world we live in.
The Hidden World of Gnomes was published by Tundra books and Penguin Random House. It will be found in gentle bookstores. You can order it through Bookshop.org to support your local bookstore or from Amazon at the affiliate link I have included in the comment section.