Mr. Handsome is a remarkable man. He is eighty-five years old, though to look at him you would think he’s sixty. He always looks tan, which is partly because he likes the sun – but mostly because his grandmother, Granny Morena, was half Moroccan and half Seminole Indian. He has a head of silver-gray hair and he always wears a hat, winter or summer.
Mr. Handsome has seen many wonderful things in his garden. One day, he saw an old ladybug resting under the warm shell of a turtle. One day, he saw a worm drag a stick into dry leaves, and wondered why. And beyond what he’s seen in his garden, Mr. Handsome has seen many wonderful things on earth.
On a ship off the coast of Australia, he saw the Great Barrier Reef and – for the first time in his life – Toucan, a constellation you can see only south of the equator. Another time, on the coast of Naples, he saw a child’s raft in a harbor that reminded him of one he had made with his father when he was a boy. He has seen gazelle in Africa, castles in Scotland and the most beautiful autumn leaves in the world. They fall in New England and Ontario and Quebec. You cannot believe their colors unless you have seen them yourself.
One of the best things about Mr. Handsome is that he tells a great story. Since he has been retired, he has had more time to sit on the porch in his garden, and school kids have often visited him on their way home to hear his stories.
In Mr. Handsome’s Garden a collection of some of the stories he has told the children over the years. They are stories about fun and friendship and kindness. They are about hopes and dreams and being your best. They are about the wonderful things we have in this world and the lessons we can learn from them.