Old Rosario is a magician, though not the kind that pulls rabbits out of hats.
The unnamed little girl who lives next door to Rosario thinks he is a magician because he grows everything. She helps him dig the soil and lay the seeds for many vegetables, some of which she does not even recognize. But one spring he takes a pot out that has a tree in it. They live in a place that is too cold for figs, but this is a fig tree, and Rosario loves it. And it does grow figs, which are “kind of squishy, but they are as sweet as peaches.” In late fall, Rosario does a strange thing—he buries the fig tree! The girl wonders if it is dead, but Rosario is not sad: He is a magician with growing things. An unusual but still-used method for overwintering a fig tree is described (children of Italian or Latino ancestry might be more familiar with their grandparents’ practice of wrapping the entire tree in cloth), and the joy of growing things is well-delineated. The digitally produced images are bright with summer colors, and the figures have elongated bodies and funny ovoid heads with vivid expressions.
A child’s wonder at the care it takes to make things grow and the joys of fresh figs make an engaging story. (Picture book. 4-8)