“Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt”

Explore the hidden, changing world of a garden, from the leaves, sprouts, and vegetables to the earthworms, snakes, sand animals that make a garden their home. Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. Down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.

1. WATCH and LISTEN to author Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner; with art by Christopher Silas Neal:

2. Discussion topics can include:

  • Talk about how Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt portrays gardening. Does it make it sound more exciting than you thought? Why, or why not? How does the author do that?
  • Do you like planting vegetables? What vegetables or plants have you planted or cared for?
  • Which season is your favorite, and why?


3. Related activities can include:

  • Regrow vegetables: Some vegetable scraps such as carrot tops, scallions, and celery (base) can be regrown by placing them in water. Put each vegetable in a small bowl or container, add a small amount of water and put in a location where the vegetable will get plenty of natural light. Invite children to predict, observe and record what happens through drawing and writing.
  • Plant a garden and watch and wait for seedlings to emerge.
  • Have a sprouting race by planting the same seeds indoors and out and seeing which ones emerge first – you might be surprised!
  • Dig in the dirt outside and see what bugs you find. Draw pictures of what you find!
  • Explore lots of gardening-related activities on KidsGardening.org


4. You can find this book and other garden-related books on Overdrive. Here are a few of Miss Anne’s favorites:

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