Nov 272014


A Year in the Secret Garden - cover

A Year In The Life Of The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr
Illustrated by: Marilyn Scott-Waters
Publication Date: November, 2014
Publisher: Audrey Press
Pages: 144
Recommended Ages: 5 to 99

Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic,The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.

Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

 The book is organized by months, and my review is for July.
July is all about The Secret Meal.
“Dickon made the stimulating discovery that in the wood in the park outside the garden where Mary had first found him piping to the wild creatures there was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it. Roasted eggs were a previously unknown luxury and very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king – besides being deliciously satisfying. You could buy both potatoes and eggs and eat as many as you liked without feeling as if you were taking food out of the mouths of fourteen people.”
— Frances Burnett HodgesHere’s a camping version of a recipe which can be made on a camp-fire, a camping cook-stove, or barbecue.Tin Foil Breakfast
(Makes enough for 1 person per foil package)
hash brown potatoes
1–2 eggs
1 sausage link (optional)
salt and pepper
aluminum foil
cooking spray
Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to hold your eggs and potatoes.
Spray the non-shiny surface of your foil with cooking spray.
Break eggs into a bowl and beat them until well mixed.
Place potatoes, beaten eggs (uncooked), sausage, and salt and pepper to taste in the aluminum foil.
Wrap securely.
Place on hot white coals for approximately 15 minutes.
Turn and rotate as needed.
There were also some instructions for The Cooking Campfire about fire safety. Here are a few examples:
NEVER build your fire near tents or other flammable items.
NEVER use flammable fluids to start your fire.
NEVER leave your fire unattended.
Have a bucket of water, shovel, and fire extinguisher nearby, ready to put out a fire.
When you’re done, make sure to completely extinguish your fire.
Scatter ashes or embers out. Sprinkle with water. Stir with a stick.
Drench charred logs. Repeat until everything is coldHere are some different types of fires mentioned in the book:
Tepee Fire – good for quick cooking since the heat is concentrated in one
spot. Lay the fuel over your kindling like a tepee.
Crisscross Fire – good for a long lasting fire with a lot of coals. Excellent for a campfire. Lay the fuel over the kindling in a crisscross pattern.There is even a bit about one of the characters, Colin, that shows how important exercise is:
Colin’s Exercises
Each time Colin goes into the secret garden he creates a ritual, doing the same thing every time. Calisthenics, or exercises, are part of his ritual.
Aided by the fresh air of the great outdoors, Colin recovers from his illness by doing physical exercise to increase his healthy disposition.Blindfolded Garden Walk
Blindfolded, you’ll smell the dampness of the forest, hear the blowing or crunching of the leaves, feel the sun or shade, and notice what type of ground you’re walking on. You’ll have a new perception of the world.

Affirmation Stones
Affirmations work for everyone. Carrying a little stone inscribed with a positive thought is a way to stir the magic in you.
Samples of affirmation phrases:
I believe in myself and my abilities.
I am unique and special.
I make mistakes sometimes, but I choose to learn from them.
I can be whatever I want to be.

This is such a great book! I love all the activities it provides. It’s full of fun to do things and recipes, information about the story and more. The book covers a wide range of subjects that will (hopefully) inspire children to get off the couch and get outside. The illustrations are big and bright and beautiful!

This is an awesome book for kids to have, especially for when they get bored.
Love Love Love this book!

About the Author:  Valarie Budayr

Valarie BudayrValarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website,, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.

She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.

Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads



About the Illustrator:  Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-WatersMarilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website,, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.

She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

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 Posted by at 12:02 AM

  8 Responses to “Review: A Year In The Secret Garden”

  1. Vicki, thank you for hosting this fantastic giveaway! The tin foil breakfast recipe sounds wonderful, and I like love the idea of the garden as a healing place (because it is). I will add a link to this giveaway in my blog’s sidebar.

  2. Great review and post! Thanks for hosting this, Vicki!

  3. Thank you so much for taking part in the “A Year in the Secret Garden” Blog Tour, Vicki. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and thank you for the detailed description of the activities for the month of July – a little something to look forward to next summer! I also love the idea of the affirmation stones – I want to do that one with my children!

  4. I’m reviewing the August portion of this book so I wanted to hop around and see what others had to say about other months. It really is a stunningly gorgeous book, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I host a book link-up every Thursday at and would love to have you join anytime!

  5. Love the idea of this book and know of a girl who would love it!

  6. I have five boys and they will love that tin foil breakfast!!

  7. This sounds like a lovely book. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday and hope you’ll link up more posts with us this week!

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