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1001 Stories Collection

The Little Gardener

1001 The Little Gardener
Added on 08th August 2020

Author Emily Hughes
First published 2015
Publisher Flying Eye

The story of a little gardener who never gives up.


The little gardener loves his garden. It means everything to him, but he struggles to make anything in it grow, except for a single flower. Feeling sad and weary he falls asleep, but when he wakes something has changed! This intricately illustrated book explores themes of hope and persistence through its beautiful drawings and minimal text.

Why we chose it

Emily Hughes uses few words and the story of the gardener and his single flower is told through the detailed artwork. It is a beautiful story of hope and inspiration.

Where it came from

Emily is of Hawaiian heritage and lives in London. She studied illustration at Arts University Bournemouth. Her inspiration comes from Chinese cinema and illustrators such as Blair Lent and Gyo Fujikawa.

She says she uses three main themes in her work; the environment, the colour green, which she says is a special, joyful colour and feelings which she tries to show through the use of expression, body language and colour.

Where it went next

The Little Gardener received favourable reviews and was NPR’s Best Book in 2015.

Associated stories

In 2012 Nana Shaped Like a Banana came second in the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Books and in 2013 Wild was published. Hughes also illustrated Brilliant by Roddy Doyle in 2015, A Brave Bear, written by Sean Taylor in 2016 and Laurel Snyder’s Charlie and Mouse, which won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award from the American Library Association in 2018.

Added on 08th August 2020

Author Emily Hughes
First published 2015
Publisher Flying Eye