A little girl plants a tree for wild animals in this story of friendship and the environment from debut author/illustrator Wasfi.
When Emma visits “the land of grass and mushrooms,” she realizes that the animals there need help. The giraffe has to bend its long neck to eat grass, the zebra is too hot, and the monkey has nowhere to play. Emma decides to plant and care for a tree in order to solve all their problems. It works, so the animals invite other creatures to visit the tree, and together, they decide to plant more. Wasfi’s digital, color illustrations are simplistic; Emma’s mouth shape is almost exactly the same on each page, and the trees in the final image appear to be the same tree, repeated multiple times. The overall message regarding the importance of arboreal planting is an important one. However, animal-savvy young readers may wonder why creatures that, in real life, have habitats in grasslands would want to live in a land full of trees. Emma’s kindness and her desire to help her new friends, however, have universal appeal. The narrative’s simple vocabulary and short sentences make it highly approachable for newly independent readers, and the silly dialogue between the animals is entertaining.
A fine story of kindness hampered by questionable zoology.