A God-centric adoption story using a grafted apple tree as a metaphor.
Four opening spreads set the scene with softly colored watercolor artwork: an apple orchard, an idyllic place where the often anthropomorphized trees bear fruit of all colors and tastes and where all the trees are happy under the loving care of the farmer who planted them. But the fifth introduces Little Tree, who yearns to bear her own fruit but cannot. When she asks the farmer what her purpose could be, he reassures her that, having planted her, he has not forgotten her. One fall, the farmer grafts a limb from Green Pippin, whose branches are too weak, onto Little Tree, who wonders if she could love these apples but trusts the farmer. Come spring, all her doubts are banished, and she is grafted several more times, eventually sporting apples of many different colors, all of them loved. The final spread is a close-up of Little Tree and her apples, the only text Isaiah 49:16—“Behold, I have carved you on the palms of my hands.” A final author’s note describes Marquez’s inspiration for the story, which also led her to adopt children of her own. Nowhere else, though, does the book break from the apple-tree metaphor to talk about adopting children.
More than most adoption books, this one is love-it or hate-it, as its metaphor is likely to sail over most children’s heads and shows adoption as only a Plan B. (Picture book. 5-8)