The City Tree

HarperCollins/Clarion. Apr. 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780358423416.
K-Gr 3–Dani, a dark-skinned, dark-haired little girl, lives on a busy city street with a big hole in the sidewalk. One day she is intrigued to see a tree planted in the depression, bringing chirping birds, falling leaves, nesting owls, and protection from the sun. Through the changing seasons and holidays, in all kinds of weather, the tree becomes a special friend, as much a part of the neighborhood as the bodega and city stoops. As some people deface or damage the tree, Dani and her neighbors come together to clean it up, planting flowers and removing signs, giving back in exchange for all the wonder it has given them. The illustrations are impeccable—vibrant, colorful, and full of sublime detail. Young readers will especially enjoy spotting Dani’s black cat, whose big yellow eyes can be seen peering from behind a flowerpot or over a window sill. The immersive language and onomatopoeia paint a vivid picture of the everyday urban soundscape and the new, sweet sounds of birds and flapping leaves. Back matter provides additional information about the importance of street trees as well as tips on how to help them.
VERDICT A simple story of a tree which transforms into a glorious celebration of life, growth, and community.

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