As we drove up to the entrance of Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, I knew I was in for a treat. A group of day camp kids in their matching t-shirts was swarming the Magic School Bus, climbing in and out, looking for Ms. Frizzle no doubt!
Entering the gardens, we started down the path to find an inviting grass bench where little Caroline settled in next to her dad to read “He Came with the Couch.” On to the Woodland Garden, we came to the periodic stone pillar with the books tucked in and found “The Magic Treehouse,” Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” and ”
Winnie the Pooh” among others as the kids skipped to a treehouse overlooking a gully, raked a Japanese garden, and hid in Winnie the Pooh’s treehouse. “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” provided a small, medium and very large chair to sit in as well as bear sculptures, while kids chose from natural materials to make their very own stick, leaf and feather fairy house from “Fairy Houses.”
The Farm Garden was hands-on with kids filling watering pots and feeding most anything around from pots to raised beds of vegetables in the pizza and salsa garden. Step into Farmer McGregor’s house surrounded by a white picket fence and imagine “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” surrounding you. The small post and beam barn was a perfect kid’s playhouse as it serves as the center for the garden’s educational programs.
The Creative Garden brings together the world of art and music as kids freely banged on musical instruments and made a “Joyful Noise.” Kids stepped through large open picture frames inspired by “Katie and the Sunflowers,” which is more fun than you think! The Pond and Wetland Garden takes advantage of children’s fascination with water. We ran across the wooden bridge with rope railing to check out the goldfish and floating plants, imagining “Make Way for the Ducklings” with rubber ducks to send down the stream.
We had to save the Animal and Memory Garden for next time as it was time to leave for the airport. Many thanks to all the generous local residents who designed and implemented this wonderful outdoor literacy learning garden, including Charlotte Zieve, a very special lady who passed away this summer, who I understand was instrumental in making this garden a reality.