by Karina Yan Glaser
When Mr. Jeet, the Vanderbeekers’ upstairs neighbor, suffers from a stroke, the Vanderbeeker children have to do something. They have to try and help Mr. Jeet get better!
In an attempt to prepare a surprise for Mrs. Josie and Mr. Jeet when Mr. Jeet is released from the hospital, the Vanderbeeker children decide to turn a nearby abandoned lot into a garden, just like Mrs. Josie had been wishing for them to do.
However, turning the lot into a garden is a bigger challenge than it seems at first and other people are doing talking about the lot as well. Will real estate thwart the Vanderbeekers’ plan? And will they be able to get the garden done before Mr. Jeet comes home?
Just like its predecessor, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden is another heartwarming tale. In typical Vanderbeeker style, the story is filled with various schemes dreamed up by the Vanderbeeker children, minus Isa who is away at camp. Some plans work and others don’t. Along the way, Jessie, Oliver, Hycinth, and Laney learn plenty of things.
Again, I loved the character interactions in the story. Glaser does a fantastic job of writing realistic family dynamics. And I love the Vanderbeekers’ relationship with Mrs. Josie and Mr. Jeet. We also get to meet some new characters throughout the story who add another dimension to the plot.
On a side note, because the Vanderbeeker children want the garden to be a surprise for everyone, they don’t tell their parents about the garden and do some covering-up about what they’re up to.