An exquisitely crafted call to honor ourselves, one another and the natural world.

CALL ME TREE / LLÁMAME ÁRBOL

The author of I Know the River Loves Me / Yo sé que el río me ama (2009) offers a bilingual picture book that presents the triumphant journey from seed to tree, conveying a deep appreciation for nature.

A seed, depicted as a little child, nestles deep underground. The child wakes up and grows into a strong tree, free yet rooted. Upon waking, the child sees other trees, presented on the page as an array of ethnically diverse children, standing and moving in their own ways. The text is brief, lyrical, and equally expressive in both the English and Spanish. “Some sing songs / Some sing along / All trees have roots / All trees belong // Unos cantan canciones / Otros se unen al coro / Todos los árboles tienen raíces / Todos los árboles tienen un lugar.” Reading the text aloud invites the incorporation of creative movement, such as yoga or dance, and is sure to engage younger and older children alike. Visionary illustrations stretch vibrant colors across the pages, with details that encourage readers to sit with the book and explore. Most notably, the author/illustrator excels at using few words to evoke grand imagery, relaying a powerful message to children: We are all our own trees—equal, vital and free.

An exquisitely crafted call to honor ourselves, one another and the natural world. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-89239-294-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE

A grouchy sapling on a Christmas tree farm finds that there are better things than lights and decorations for its branches.

A Grinch among the other trees on the farm is determined never to become a sappy Christmas tree—and never to leave its spot. Its determination makes it so: It grows gnarled and twisted and needle-less. As time passes, the farm is swallowed by the suburbs. The neighborhood kids dare one another to climb the scary, grumpy-looking tree, and soon, they are using its branches for their imaginative play, the tree serving as a pirate ship, a fort, a spaceship, and a dragon. But in winter, the tree stands alone and feels bereft and lonely for the first time ever, and it can’t look away from the decorated tree inside the house next to its lot. When some parents threaten to cut the “horrible” tree down, the tree thinks, “Not now that my limbs are full of happy children,” showing how far it has come. Happily for the tree, the children won’t give up so easily, and though the tree never wished to become a Christmas tree, it’s perfectly content being a “trick or tree.” Martinez’s digital illustrations play up the humorous dichotomy between the happy, aspiring Christmas trees (and their shoppers) and the grumpy tree, and the diverse humans are satisfyingly expressive.

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7335-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more