Badger's Perfect Garden

2020 Growing Good Kids Book Award
2020-2021 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award List
2019 Florida Book Award - Bronze Medal

It's springtime and Badger is ready to plant the perfect garden. He has spent months gathering and sorting seeds. It's been a lot of work but it's worth it. His friends Red Squirrel, Dormouse, and Weasel come to help. They weed. They rake. And finally they plant. Afterward, everyone celebrates, and Badger can already imagine the perfect rows of flowers and vegetables. But then a rainstorm comes and washes away the beautiful seeds. Badger's perfect garden is ruined. Or is it? Author Marsha Diane Arnold's gentle story will encourage young readers to think beyond plans and expectations and imagine the wonderful possibilities that may occur when life and nature have other ideas.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$16.99 $16.99
$28.99 $28.99
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 1
Dewey 635
Lexile 560L
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level K
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781534110007), PDF (9781534138339), Hosted ebook (9781534138476)
Copyright 2019
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 9 x 9
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award List, Short-listed, 2020
  • Growing Good Kids Book Award, Winner, 2020
  • Florida Book Award, Commended, 2019

Publisher's Weekly - Badger's Perfect Garden

In a story about patience and tempering expectations, Kaulitzki creates a woodland world of tree trunk homes and anthropomorphic animals. Red Squirrel and Dormouse help Badger plant a garden using the seeds he has stored in small jars. Badger envisions the plants growing into perfectly aligned rows, so when a storm washes out the garden, he despairs. His friends reassure him (“Seeds will float on the wind again, when the sunniest days come”), but, inconsolable, Badger spends the summer indoors. Red Squirrel, Dormouse, and Weasel excitedly knock on his door one day: the scattered seeds have grown into a beautiful, wild mélange of flowers. Arnold imparts a relatable message: thwarted plans can yield unexpected gifts.

Kirkus Reviews - Badger's Perfect Garden

There is no drought of picture books about animal friends making a garden. The hook in this one is the message that when plans go awry, there may still be a rainbow at the end. It is spring. Badger has dozens of jars of seeds that he saved from last summer to plant the “perfect garden.” His friends Red Squirrel, Weasel, and Dormouse help him by raking and clearing the ground, marking the rows with string, and making holes for the seeds. They celebrate their efforts with muffins and mulberry juice. Over the next three days damp weather accelerates from showers to a heavy downpour, and Badger is unable to rescue his precious seeds from washing away. Badger tries to distract himself from his sorrow with chores and projects (and naps). Then one sunny summer day his friends rush in to tell him he has the perfect garden after all; the seeds just found new places to grow. The attractive, full-page illustrations show flair and gentle humor (Badger’s yoga practice will have readers chuckling). The animals are lightly anthropomorphic; all wear some sort of human garment or accessory, and the texture of the animal fur is beautifully realized. While lacking the timelessness of Kadir Nelson’s If You Plant a Seed (2015) and the humor of Janet Stevens’ Tops and Bottoms (1995), the message of coping with unmet expectations and not giving up hope is worthwhile.

Author: Marsha Diane Arnold

Marsha Diane Arnold is a multiple-award–winning author with more than one million children’s books sold. She has been called a “born storyteller” by the media. One of her favorite childhood activities was poring over seed catalogs with her grandma Emma. Whether in straight rows or jumbly, Grandma Emma’s gardens were a colorful wonder in the midst of Kansas wheat fields. Marsha now lives in Southwest Florida, and from time to time plants seeds that surprise her, as they did Badger. Learn more at

Illustrator: Ramona Kaulitzki

Growing up in a small town in Germany, Ramona Kaulitzki spent her days doing something creative, from sewing to photography, but her biggest passion has always been drawing and storytelling. She loves to create little characters and breathe life into them, while thinking about their stories and the world they live in. Her love for animals, as well as for nature, is a major inspiration for her work. You can visit Ramona at

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Author/Illustrator biography
Full-color illustrations