An engaging story about rescuing a tree and reconstructing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

THE TREE OF HOPE

THE MIRACULOUS RESCUE OF PUERTO RICO’S BELOVED BANYAN

Orenstein-Cardona explores the impact of Hurricane Maria through the story of a stately banyan tree.

The tree (in Spanish, jagüey blanco) is well known, providing shade by the San Juan Gate, which surrounds the old city. When the hurricane hits in September 2017, the tree feels he will survive. “ ‘I am ready,’ said the tree, digging his roots deeper into the rich Caribbean soil.” But this storm is worse than anything he and the people of Puerto Rico have ever experienced, and it almost kills the tree. Finally, the large tree cracks, and his large crown falls into the nearby ocean. His stump and roots remain, but in language that treats the tree in human terms “he drifted between this world and the next.” An unnamed girl, with dark hair and brown skin, discovers the tree’s plight and brings help. In “Behind the Story,” the author discusses the true story that inspired this tale. Some may object to the anthropomorphizing of the tree, but this meaningful story evades didacticism and links the tree’s resilience with the fortitude of Puerto Ricans determined to rebuild their lives. People are pictured with different skin tones, reflecting the diversity of Puerto Rico. Observant children will notice the young girl who helps the tree, pictured with her family, in many of the realistic illustrations, which picture the Caribbean island before and after the intense storm. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An engaging story about rescuing a tree and reconstructing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5064-8409-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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