PEACH PIT by Grace Nava


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In Nava’s debut picture book, an oversized peach pit overcomes his self-doubt with a small prayer.

The moment the other seeds first spot Peach Pit, they call him giant, ugly and wrinkled. Peach Pit, tormented by those words, says a little prayer and receives a response in the form of a whisper: “Just persevere a little, big pit.” Although Apple Seed takes pity on Peach Pit and eventually helps him interpret this advice, nasty Watermelon Seed ignores him—and is swept away when the rains come. When Apple and Peach grow into trees, their roles reverse, and Peach Tree encourages Apple Tree to hang in there when wind and rain try to rip its young roots out of the soil. Eventually, Peach Tree is the last one standing, and he, with the help of his conscience, struggles to complete his goal of bearing delicious fruit at harvest time. Nava does an admirable job of generating sympathy for the protagonist, who just wants to fit in and do his job well. She introduces concepts of prayer and perseverance in an easy, nondenominational manner. Aslan’s watercolor art is sweetly soothing, and the images of gentle clouds do suggest a supportive whisper from a higher power. The pages without text, however, contain a great deal of empty space, which may leave the reader wanting more visual material—although, admittedly, brown fruit seeds and brown saplings aren’t the most picturesque subjects. Some of the dialogue ends up feeling like missed opportunities; for example, in a jaunty, rhyming explanation, Apple Seed says, “To persevere means, you must try, try, try / until you reach your goal no matter how high.” But the rhyme dissolves as he continues, “But don’t waste your time. / A big apple tree I shall be, / but you will always be just an ugly pit.” The push and pull between rhyming and nonrhyming speech continues throughout the text, and a consistent method throughout would have strengthened the reading and learning experience.

Although classics such as The Little Engine That Could may provide stronger examples of overcoming adversity, readers who want to introduce little listeners to the power of prayer may enjoy Peach Pit’s spiritual journey.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0967506814
Page count: 50pp
Publisher: Media For Life
Program: Kirkus Indie
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