Aw, crap. This book had such promise! As the story developed it had this Sendak / Edward Gorey / Van Allsburg thing going where I was sure the boy was using the garden to imagine himself through a whole trajectory of life beyond his childhood. That would have been much more true to the 'secret garden' motif Smith even invoked directly in the book. I started to remember the Jimmy Corrigan graphic novel or the feel of Harris Burdick.
It would have been so much fun as an example of counterpoint between text and pictures, but then he ruined it with his O. Henry ending. I think if I get a chance, I'll do a read-aloud and stop and talk about the counterpoint and ask people to finish the story before hearing the ending, and see if their drawing out of the counterpoint is more interesting than what Smith's cheap ending did.