Friday, November 7, 2014

A Year in the Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr, illustrated by Marilyn Scott-Waters, Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

A Year in the Secret Garden - Blog Tour Button  

About the Book

A Year in the Secret Garden - cover
Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99 Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads


My Review:

Last weekend, I reread Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel The Secret Garden, which I downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg

It's a book I loved as a young reader but it's been a while since I read it and I wanted to refresh my memory, the better to enjoy reading this lovely new book by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters.  

I was pretty excited when I first heard about A Year in the Secret Garden because while I love a good novel, I also love a good activity-learning book as well and that is just what this is.  

Beginning with September and Mary's life in India, we are introduced to the delicious taste and smells of Indian spices with a recipe for Indian Style Chicken Curry followed by instructions for making a traditional Rangoli, a brightly colored Indian decoration hung in people's homes.

Life changes drastically for Mary when she arrives in England.  There is different food, different kinds of people, different things to do.  All of this is captured in the A Year in the Secret Garden with easy recipes, wonderful character studies, cultural information about Britain and lots of fun DIY crafts and projects kids can do throughout the year.  

November must have been quite a shock for Mary, with its cold weather and days that were getting shorter and shorter, especially on the Yorkshire moor.  A good way for anyone to start the day would be with some hearty hot Oatcakes, such as the ones that Dickon's mother Susan Sowerby would make for her family of 12.

You can find the recipe for these Oakcakes along with instruction for making a jump rope like the one Susan Sowerby sent over for Mary to play with.  Jumping rope warmed Mary and put some rosy color in her cheeks, making her look less sour.  And you will find some nice Jump Rope Rhymes to learn in the book. 

As Mary skipped around the grounds of Misselthwaite, she became friendly with the elderly gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, and November includes a nice character study of this loyal, trustworthy man. 

But there are other favorites to be found.  One of mine was in December and seeing a recipe for Toads in the Hole made with sausages and Yorkshire Pudding, a dish my mom used to make for us when we were kids, followed by instructions for making a Winter Bird Feeder.  If you are planning on reading The Secret Garden soon, you might find January's Yorkshire Phrasebook handy since Burnett wrote a lot of dialect into her novel.  And if your kids are anxious for the return of Spring as mine always was, they are sure to want to plant a Garden in a Jar, a fun way to experience nature up close and personal.

In June, kids can learn about traditional afternoon tea and how to do one, complete with a recipe for delicious lemon cookies.  Afternoon tea is delightful outside on a warm sunny day, especially after  learning how to make daisy chains and Midsummer Dancing Ribbon Wreaths.  

A Year in the Secret Garden is a colorful, beautifully illustrated reader-friendly book jam packed with so much for you and your kids to read and do, that it is sure to become a family favorite, especially since it cover all four seasons of the year.   

About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Valarie Budayr
Valarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website,, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure. She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.  

Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads


About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-Waters
Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website,, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things. She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Website | Facebook | Google+


A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

November 1
Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)
WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)
November 2
Hope to Read (Excerpt)
November 3
Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)
November 4
BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)
November 5
Monique's Musings (Book Review)
November 6
SOS-Supply (Book Review)
November 7
Randomly Reading (Book Review)
November 8
Adalinc to Life (Book Review)
November 9
100 Pages a Day (Book Review)
November 10
Edventures With Kids (Book Review)
November 11
November 12
Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)
November 13
Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)
November 14
Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)
November 15
Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)
November 16
Stacking Books (Book Review)
November 17
Oh My Bookness (Book Review)
November 18
November 19
The Blended Blog (Book Review)
November 20
All Done Monkey (Book Review)
November 21
Geo Librarian (Book Review)
Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)
November 22
November 23
Christy's Cozy Corners (Book Review)
November 24
Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)
November 25
Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)
November 26
Jane Ritz (Book Review)
Rockin' Book Reviews (Book Review)
November 27
November 28
Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)
November 29
Mommynificent (Book Review)
November 30
This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)
Java John Z's (Author/Illustrator Interview)

* $100 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: December 7, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services  


  1. I love how this classic kids' book is brought to life! The character studies are amazing some of their recipes we are excited to try.

  2. Thank You Alex for being a part of the blog tour and your very kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Wishing you many happy adventures in the Secret Garden.

  3. I'm reviewing the August portion of this book so I wanted to hop around and see what others had to say about other months. It really is a stunningly gorgeous book, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I host a book link-up every Thursday at and would love to have you join anytime!


Imagination Designs