Apple and Magnolia

Flyaway. Feb. 2022. 40p. retold by . Tr $18. ISBN 9781947888357.
PreS-Gr 2–The striking cover art of the night sky, bright and alive, putting two trees into stark silhouette lures readers into this stunning book. Britta loves these trees and has decided they are friends, and that the trees help one another. Dad and her annoying sister, Bronwyn, tell her she’s wrong. But Nana tells Britta that friendships can be unusual and sometimes they are the most powerful of all. Buoyed by her idea, Britta devises a plan to help these two tree friends, Apple and Magnolia, connect to one another even more when Magnolia begins to look poorly. With string and cups as a “telephone,” she hopes the trees can talk to one another, and with a long, shared scarf wrapped around them, they will each benefit from the others’ warmth. As time passes, Britta swears that the trees have grown closer to one another. Nana suggests that Britta measure and chart the distance between them each morning and, over time, the distances shrink. There are naysayers, but the numbers don’t lie. Beautifully told and illustrated, this book is a gem on many levels. The relationship with wise Nana illustrates the importance of intergenerational stories; Britta’s determination shows how strong girls can be, and it shows that we all have an impact on the natural world.
VERDICT Pair with Lita Judge’s recent The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom and let the children brainstorm how Apple and Magnolia may have relied on one another.

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