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Children's Fiction Chapter Books

Timo's Garden

by (author) Victoria Allenby

illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2015
Chapter Books, Country Life, Friendship, General
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


When Timo signs up for the Great, Green Garden Tour, he feels pressure to make his garden “great” and neglects his friends to work in it. When his friends help him avoid a disaster, he realizes his friendships are more important than pride in his garden

At first, the Great, Green Garden Tour sounds like a lot of fun. Before long, though, young rabbit Timo starts to find that it’s a lot of pressure. Can he really call his garden “great?” Maybe it needs one little change...or a few...or a lot.

Anxious to make his garden measure up, Timo forgets to take time out for anyone else. Luckily, his friends know just how to remind him of the value of being there for others: by being there for him when he needs it most.

In musical prose filled with word play and whimsy, Victoria Allenby invites young readers to come along as Timo sets to work with a skip and a song, meets trouble with a sniff and a sigh, and triumphs with a smile that’s as bright as the sun. Dean Griffiths’ charming illustrations are both classic and fresh, infusing each animal character with personality and life. Complete with an illustrated glossary of flowers, this beautifully-designed early reader might just be worthy of the word “great.”


About the authors

Victoria Allenby has been writing poetry and stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut picture book, Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That, won the 2014 Preschool Reads Award and was nominated for the 2015 SYRCA Shining Willow Award. She has followed up the success of this debut with the critically acclaimed early readers Timo's Garden, Timo's Party, and Timo Goes Camping, as well as several picture books, including Shape Up, Construction Trucks! which has earned multiple starred reviews, and the 2021 title Listen Up! Train Song. Victoria lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Victoria Allenby's profile page

Dean Griffiths is a popular picture book artist with more than 25 titles to his name. His many awards include the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize for Maggie Can't Wait and the Chocolate Lily Award for Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses. Dean's 2012 title Lumpito and the Painter from Spain has been nominated for the SYRCA Shining Willow Award and was a Bank Street Best Book. His most recent book is When Emily Carr Met Woo. Dean lives in Duncan, British Columbia, with his daughter.

Dean Griffiths' profile page


  • Unknown, Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
  • Unknown, New York Public Library Best Books for Kids and Teens selection
  • Unknown, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Timo's Garden

2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids and Teens selection

2016 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

2015 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection

"Allenby laces her story with alliteration and wordplay and Griffiths's color illustrations further add to the cozy atmosphere - there’s a whiff of The Wind in the Willows in the dapper outfits he gives the animal characters...[T]he easy camaraderie and old-fashioned gentility among these friends exert plenty of charm."—Publishers Weekly

"This lovely early chapter book presents the theme of friendship while also tackling life's challenges in a comfortable manner....The finely illustrated 'Glossary of Flowers' on the final pages is an ideal introduction for budding horticulturists....A charming addition to early chapter book collections."—School Library Journal

"Allenby's storytelling is lively, with a nice sprinkling of rhymes, alliteration, and other wordplay....At the back of the book, Griffiths provides some small but lovely illustrations of the 14 flowers mentioned in the story. Sweet, informative, and visually appealing."—Booklist

"Griffiths' richly colored illustrations depict anthropomorphic animals in a pastoral setting...A fine title for growing readers."—Kirkus Reviews

"An ideal addition to school and community library collections, and complete with an illustrated glossary of flowers, this beautifully-designed early reader is very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, and in grades 1-3."—Midwest Book Review

"Brightly colored illustrations of the jauntily clad animals add interest...this is a handsome book, and the theme of friendship will resonate with the intended audience."—Youth Services Book Review

"The text is simple enough for beginning readers for the most part, but does incorporate just the right amount of more challenging words to hone sounding-out skills. In addition, the use of some consistent rhyming text, alliteration, and onomatopoeia, adds whimsy and a lyrical tone to the story, a rarity among chapter books. Highly recommended."—Resource Links

"Timo's Garden...will speak to any reader who might get too wrapped up in seemingly important endeavors....Endearing creatures, vibrant flowers, and brilliant garden designs will transport readers to a storybook world in which friends are riches not to be overlooked."—Quill & Quire

"In reading the book aloud, the wordcraft of the author becomes more pronounced; Allenby's use of consistent alliteration and internal rhyme throughout Timo’s Garden adds to the enjoyment of reading it."—CM Magazine

"Victoria Allenby and illustrator Dean Griffiths...[provide] a light, cautionary tale about finding balance."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"Children are going to enjoy reading about Timo’s garden adventures, and misadventures, in this charming chapter book. They will see how a fun activity can become a chore when you take it too far, and how that activity can take over your life if you are not careful."—Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

"Each chapter is accompanied by colorful and detailed illustrations helping readers follow character and plot. [Timo's Garden] provide[s] just the right amount of excitement and suspense to keep readers engaged. Timo and his friends are sure to become favorites!"—New York Botanical Gardens


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