What I loved: This was an intriguing and thought-provoking picture book read with a story that seems simple on the surface but presents some themes that merit further consideration. For instance, the plants that Ana tosses away could be considered her failures or mistaken attempts - but she later learns that they also created something truly beautiful. Her quest for perfection also leads to something other than what she wanted to create - with the imperfection of the wild holding the most beauty. And, of course, there are implications for what makes a beautiful garden and how beauty is judged and by whom.
The story itself is simple and captures the imagination, and the accompanying illustrations are expressive with a lot of color and lovely flowers growing throughout. The backmatter also adds some interesting learning points about variety and ecosystems, as they need a lot of different things to thrive with other implications for the world and communities. This would definitely be a great one to discuss with children and would work well in a classroom with talking about (or starting) a garden. What would they choose to grow in their garden?
Final verdict: An intriguing and thought-provoking picture book read, THE WALL AND THE WILD tells the story of Ana, her quest for perfection, and the lessons she learns along the way. Recommend for elementary school aged readers.