Hamilton Gardens is an award-winning public park on the banks of the Waikato River in Hamilton, New Zealand. With it's themed collections of gardens, Hamilton Gardens explores the history, context and meaning of gardens over the past 4,000 years.
Sarah Johnson lives in Whaingaroa / Raglan in the Waikato. Her books for children have been shortlisted for and won several awards, including the Storylines Joy Cowley Award and Storylines Notable Book Awards. Sarah also writes book and stories for educational publishers in New Zealand and abroad, and enjoys visiting schools to talk about her love of books, reading and writing. Deborah Hinde lives and works from her garden studio where the landscaper and wildlife provide a continuous source of inspiration. Deborah has illustrated more than 70 titles, both fiction and non-fiction with around 40 of these picture books.
'... The Garden's Secrets was commissioned by The Hamilton Gardens and is aimed at 2 - 6 year olds. I really like the way Sarah Johnson has told the story of the garden through the eyes of a small child and the fairy tale quality she has brought to it. Her language is lyrical, flowing from one garden to the next, Deborah Hinde's illustrations are a perfect match. The soft bright colours, and the look of wonder on the face of this gentle little boy encapsulate the dreamlike quality of Cooper's journey. They have taken the really unique approach and made it so much more exciting for young children than a factual guide would have been. It would be a lovely story to read to them before taking them to visit the Hamilton Gardens to give them a taste of what the might experience on their walk. Will they also be able to spot secret doors, hear tinkling fountains, bees humming and feathered and furry creatures? It would make a great keepsake after a visit as well and might well inspire them to create a picture of their own journey through the garden. Tha map at the end of the book of Cooper's journey would help them to retrace where they went.' Lyn Potter - NZBooklovers