This illustrated children’s board book celebrates everything wonderful about loblolly pine trees.
In a serene, outdoor setting, where fairies fly and small animals live, there’s a children’s playhouse and tall, loblolly pines. The latter “sway in the breeze,” individually and together, and the text compares their distinct appearance—tall, vertical trunks with branches and needles clustered at the top—to birthday candles, cotton candy, and bottle brushes. They stand together in neighborly groups (“The more the merrier”); their green needles turn brown after they fall off; and they provide shelter and support to birds, holly bushes, and small animals. Their pine cones also resemble pineapples, which the narrator calls “a sign of welcome.” Mommy Moo Moo (Vegetable Chatter, 2016) nicely conveys her appreciation for loblollies and their role in the natural world in understandable but not dumbed-down language; some words (“flexible,” “unison”) may need explanation. The gentle, simple prose in sentences such as “Are you trying to touch the clouds as they go by?” helps create a dreamy sense of wonder. The book has good read-aloud potential, with opportunities, for example, to mimic the trees’ rocking in the whooshing wind. Hill’s lovely, full-page illustrations are greatly appealing—realistic and three-dimensional rather than flat and cartoonlike. His soft colors, well-observed details, and varied perspectives are a real delight.
A beautifully illustrated ode for preschoolers.