Original title: O zahradě
Genre: children´s book
Brio 2005, Petrkov 2012, Petrkov 2018
ISBN: 978-80-875-951-45, 978-80-875-9566-4
French (Gründ, 2005, Claire Collart), English (Brio, 2005, Derek Paton), Slovenian (Sanje, 2009, Edo Fičor), Persian (pirate edition), Macedonia (Begemot, 2021, Margareta Karajanova), Albanian (Ombra GVG, 2022, Elona Kodhel), Bulgarian (Perseus, 2022, Denitsa Prodanova)
There are worlds only a child’s eyes can see. There are secrets whose magic adult hearts cannot grasp.
The Garden is a story in pictures with accompanying text. It is a tale of a child’s dreams, secrets hidden in attics, abandoned old gardens, and worlds into which grown-ups cannot see—although when they read this book with their children, perhaps they will recall these worlds.
The book tells the story of a little boy called František, whose eyes are filled with dreams. One day, in the town in which he lives, František discovers a lost place that will change his world. This place is a forgotten garden. But František cannot find the courage he needs to enter the garden… When at last he makes it into the garden, he is an old man, and nothing in it is as his child self imagined it to be.
Pavel Čech’s book makes it possible for children to dream of time travel, the ocean deep, pirates’ treasure, Red Indians, great discoveries, honour, courage, love, goodness… Adults will surely appreciate the fact that The Garden is more than a depiction of a child’s world akin to a fairy tale; it is a story about a search, and the human need to uncover secrets, discover remote places, and explore the unexplored. It is a depiction of multiple returns to childhood.
František’s story urges the reader to overcome their fears, whatever they may be.
The story is illustrated in two forms: painting and drawing combine on each double-page spread. Each spread has a monochrome background, a painting (in oil or watercolour) on the left and a black-and-white drawing (in pen and ink or fake woodcut) on the right. Some illustrations are supplemented with a collage or a picture from an adventure book.
Reader age: 5+
“In this book, Pavel Čech shows himself to be an artist first and foremost: his paintings of the labyrinth of old streets, gloomy corners and peeling walls are no less masterly than his renderings of the scorched yellow desert and the green-tinged undersea world. And all these scenes are played out in the imagination of young František. (…) This enchanting, poetic story, which unfolds over full-page illustrations in plaintive autumnal tones, has a clear dramatic arc; it is tightly told, and this concision works to its advantage. (…) The wonderful trip experienced in František’s head, or perhaps even for real, is a joy to follow from page to page. This book is not only for child readers. “
Radim Kopáč, MF DNES