Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves

Familius. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781641701587.
PreS-Gr 2–A lovely seasonal tale to promote kindness and empathy. When Redbird hurts her wing and realizes that she won’t be able to fly south, she decides to ask one of the many trees in the forest to shelter her so she can weather the cold. Of the many trees she asks, only the fir, spruce, and juniper are kind enough to offer their branches and berries so that she can survive. When the Frost Queen and Jack Frost visit the forest, they leave all the leaves on those trees in honor of their generosity and dictate that from then on the trees will be known as “Evergreen.” The illustrations are drenched in color. Full of natural plants and textures, the foliage is applied on every page with delicate brushstrokes, and each of the trees is given a full canopy of intricately drawn and richly hued leaves. The close-up illustration of the vibrant blue and purple juniper berries with layers of needles below is especially beautiful and pairs wonderfully with the text. The language is dignified and slightly formal, in the spirit of a fable or folktale. One slightly incongruous line states that Redbird is shaken “from her cozy nest in the eaves of the barn,” but the pages accompanying the text show the redbird asleep in and shaken from the limbs of a tree, not a barn. A comforting final spread depicts a flock of redbirds perched cozily among the boughs of the fir, spruce, and juniper trees and reinforces the message of empathy and generosity.
VERDICT A quiet addition where seasonal tales and fables are in high demand.

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