In Valentini’s fable, originally published in Italy in 2008, a gust of wind wafts a tree’s seeds away—leaving one.
The tree urges the little seed off: “Hurry up, or you’ll be left behind. / Don’t you want to join all your brothers and sisters?” The seed is fearful about flying off to “Who Knows Where.” The tree, personifying the parent’s classic conflict between the impulse to cosset offspring and helping them individuate, allows the seed to stay. “Just one more day” becomes another, then a week, then more, as the tree frets about rain, sun, and wind. This shared stasis continues until a deus ex magpie snatches the seed and, laughing, drops it Who Knows Where. Throughout ensuing seasonal cycles, the tree, “wondering with its tender heart,” worries about the seed. One day, a voice from below hails the tree, who recognizes its progeny, now transformed as “a sapling, beautiful and strong.” Giordano’s pictures—precise black line drawings against cream-colored pages—don’t so much extend the text as parallel-play with it. Tree and seeds sport faces dominated by curvilinear noses in accent colors of blue, green, and red. Woodland creatures help nurture the seed, which even spends time nestled among a bird’s eggs. Fancifully, tiny trappings—hats, rain boots—share some critters’ polka-dot coloration.
Careful nurturing begets the launch into the unknown: Valentini celebrates both as natural and fitting. (Picture book. 3-7)