What’s not to love about this endearing and effervescent picture book?


With support from Nana, Britta sets out to help one of her favorite trees heal.

Britta is a capable, vivacious girl who insists that her two favorite trees—Apple and Magnolia—are best friends. Exuberant artwork with vigorous brush strokes depicts brown-skinned, curly-haired Britta smiling up at her arboreal friends in the daytime and dancing near them as they sway at night. When Magnolia’s branches begin to droop, irresistible Britta, flanked by her pets, brainstorms ways to help Magnolia connect with Apple, measuring the distance between the trees as the months progress: She creates a cup-and-string telephone, knits an enormous scarf, and hangs a string of lights, all in a determined attempt to connect the two trees. Britta’s light-skinned, bespectacled Dad and her dark-skinned, plugged-in older sister, Bronwyn, are skeptical of Britta’s efforts. In an effective use of repetition, her father “nicely” rejects Britta’s ideas, and Bronwyn pooh-poohs everything with the qualifiers absolutely, positively. Wise, dark-skinned Nana encourages Britta by sharing wisdom, prompting ideas with questions, and joining in her tree-healing campaign. As the author’s note mentions, cutting-edge science underlies this seemingly whimsical story, and observant readers will notice that Britta’s observations, measurements, and data-keeping capture the scientific method in action. Nana’s assertions about the power of “unusual friendships” encourage readers to consider this heartwarming tale in both literal and figurative ways.

What’s not to love about this endearing and effervescent picture book? (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-947888-35-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.


This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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