Claudine C Wargel
Hattie and Dirks Great Garden Surprise
The second instalment in The Adventures of Hattie Mae Bramble series
Twelve-year-old Hattie Mae lives on a farm in Central Illinois. She dreams of becoming a veterinarian and enjoys helping out with the farm animals, but is less keen on tending to the plants, especially in the hot Illinois summer. Halloween is approaching and Hattie is looking at the pumpkins in Mr Pinchly’s garden shop, with her little brother, Dirk. They notice how expensive the pumpkins are and think they could produce their own pumpkins on their farm, for a fraction of the cost. When they bump into Dirk’s friend who cannot afford to buy a pumpkin, the siblings have an idea to make sure every kid has a pumpkin for the next Halloween.
Hattie and Dirk are carving pumpkins with the 4-H club in their garden. The session ends with a messy pumpkin fight, and squidgy pumpkin guts splattered all over the ground. In the spring, Hattie and Dirk plant their pumpkin seeds, and look after the seedlings carefully. But during the summer, their piglets escape and trample all over the pumpkin patch. Most of the pumpkin plants are destroyed, but in the fall Hattie and Dirk harvest a small number of pumpkins and sell them from their farm. But little do they know, following their pumpkin fight the previous year, there is a surprise hidden away in their back garden.
Hattie and Dirk’s Great Garden Surprise is a delightful book for middle grade readers by Claudine C. Wargel, and the second book in The Adventures of Hattie Mae Bramble series. Set in the 1970s, on a Central Illinois farm, this is a charming story of a twelve-year-old girl, and her adventures with her little brother. The book beautifully captures the essence of rural life, during a time before cell phones, the internet, computer gaming and social media. It is a reminder of a simpler life when children could play in their natural environment without external distractions. But it is not all play, as Hattie and Dirk have to help out on the farm and complete their daily chores. Hattie and Dirk learn important lessons about responsibility and perseverance, and the rewards of hard work.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A beautiful story, delicately crafted to evoke a sense of nostalgia for simpler times.