By Kirkus Reviews
Can Lily and her friends save the community garden? In a plot point that recalls the Joni Mitchell line “They paved paradise / and put up a parking lot,” Lily (who presents as a child of color with brown skin and curly brown hair in Ng-Benitez’s outstanding illustrations) is sad to learn that their community garden will be demolished to make way for a parking lot. After talking with her mom (who shares her coloring), Lily organizes a protest with the multiracial group of friends introduced on the title page and featured throughout this series. They create posters, talk with neighbors, invite reporters, and make up a chant: “No, cars no! Let our garden grow!” In an almost happily-ever-after—and respectfully realistic—resolution, a neighbor gets a call during the rally and reports that “the builders would wait until next year to build the parking lot.” Lily resolves to fight on, but for now the community is happy they’ve saved the garden. Ng-Benitez also illustrates a simultaneously publishing companion title, Pablo’s Pet, which lends the series a sense of artistic cohesion. Author Sheri Tan’s text in Pablo’s Pet sensitively recounts the Latinx protagonist dealing with grief over the death of his pet fish, with help from friends and family. Another solid addition to an excellent, diverse early-reader series.