Gifts from Georgia’s Garden: How Georgia O’Keeffe Nourished Her Art

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823452668.
Gr 1-3–While Georgia O’Keeffe’s art has been properly celebrated in several picture books, this loving tribute focuses on its sources of inspiration—most particularly the land and its bounty. After exchanging the skyscrapers of New York for a more solitary life beneath the broad skyscapes of New Mexico, Robinson writes, the artist planted a garden from which for the rest of her life she harvested sustainably grown fruit, vegetables, and flowers that nourished her art-making. Hooper unwisely attempts to reproduce several of O’Keeffe’s paintings but, on other pages, along with lush floral sprays and spreads of baked goods, she offers more evocative images of close up leaves and flowers, of puffy clouds, and golden desert hills. These are interspersed with glimpses of the artist working on paper and canvas, carefully arranging potted succulents and animal bones, making her own clothes, and gazing contemplatively into the distance. “Her garden still grows today,” the author concludes, though it may remain more abstract than real to young audiences as actual views of it are notably absent, and a closing photo of the artist only shows her kneeling on a patch of rocky, uncultivated ground. Still, earlier pictures of vegetable seed packets and a tally of flowers in the narrative at least hint at the titular gifts, and the back matter features brief guidelines for budding organic gardeners. Better yet, the trove of handwritten recipes she left behind is represented by a truly inspiring one for Pecan Butterballs (1 cup butter, 2 cups pecans, a little flour to hold things together—yum!).
VERDICT Too limited in scope to be a first introduction to (arguably) the greatest American painter, though of some value for its insights into her character and later life.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing