The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
|Author(s)||Chris Van Allsburg|
|Illustrator||Chris Van Allsburg|
|Genre(s)||Children's picture book|
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi (ISBN 0-395-27804-X) is a best-selling children's picture book written in 1979 by the American author Chris Van Allsburg. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi was the first book written by Van Allsburg, for which he won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1980.
Miss Hester's dog Fritz had bitten her cousin Eunice six times, so when Miss Hester receives an invitation to visit Eunice, she's not surprised to read "P.S. Please leave your dog home." Before leaving for her visit, Miss Hester asks Alan Mitz to babysit Fritz and give him his afternoon walk. Alan does an admirable job of making sure Fritz doesn't destroy the house furniture with his sharp teeth.
However, while walking the dog, he comes upon a sign forbidding dogs into Abdul Gasazi's garden. Alan takes the warning quite seriously and turns to leave, but Fritz tugs and snaps his way out of his collar and runs into the garden. Alan chases the dog all over the garden and almost catches Fritz. But after Alan falls down a flight of steps, Fritz disappears. While looking for Fritz, Alan notices that his dogprints lead the way to the House of Gasazi. Once Alan arrives at the mansion-sized house, Mr. Gasazi invites him in. Alan politely asks Mr. Gasazi to please give Fritz back. At first, Gasazi smiles and seems to grant Alan's request by saying "Certainly you may have your little Fritzie. Follow me."
While walking across the front lawn, he reveals that when he sees dogs digging up his flowers and chewing on his trees in the garden, he turns them into ducks. When one duck comes towards Alan, Gasazi tells him to take Fritz (who's now a duck) home and throws him out. As Alan's traveling home, a strong gust of wind lifts his hat off his head. Fritz flies out of his reach and grabs the hat in mid-air, but keeps on flying into the clouds. As Alan cries on his way home, he wonders how he'll tell Miss Hester the bad news.
To his surprise, when he finally gets back to her house, Fritz is there, apparently fine. Alan, relieved by the good news, waves goodbye to Miss Hester and goes home. But when Miss Hester calls out to Fritz, who's chewing on something in his mouth, she says, "Why you bad dog! What are you doing with Alan's hat?"