The More You Give

Knopf. Aug. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593372739.
PreS-Gr 1–Depicting a loving family connection spanning generations, this story opens with a boy and his grandmother, who share a close bond, expressing their deep affection for one other in hugs, laughter, patience, and pancakes. They plant an acorn together and watch it grow into a sapling. As the years go by, the grandmother dies, and eventually the boy grows up to become a father, sharing the loving experiences and caring for the oak tree with his daughter, who in turn passes the wisdom “About how things grow,/ like trees,/ and people,/ and kindness” to her son, and so on until there is an oak forest where “once there was a wide-open field.” Sanna’s striking digital illustrations in a bold graphic style alternate between spreads and vignettes, cleverly conveying the passage of time with changes in color palette and framing, depicting a cast of diverse people of many skin colors and hair colors. These lovely, luscious images complement the lyricism of Campbell’s peaceful text with its repeated refrains of watering and weeding, watching, and wondering that inform the passing of the years and generations.
VERDICT Perhaps idealized, this is a lovely and gentle musing about familial continuity, community support, and the importance of perseverance and kindness.

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