When a child moves to the city, he misses the friendly sounds of the rainforest in Puerto Rico.
Ren lives with his mother and grandmother on the fringes of el Yunque, the rainforest in Puerto Rico. There, his days are “filled with green and dirt and rocks and mud.” It’s an idyllic “place of endless possibility, where anything he imagined became real,” and so Ren plays with dragons, unicorns, fairies, and kings, and he goes to sleep to the croaks of the coquís. All this changes when he moves with his mother to the city. Its loud mechanical sounds crowd his head and leave no room for wild, making him feel lonely. Meanwhile, Ava, a girl who lives upstairs, is “never lonely. She loved her building and she loved her city.” So when Ren tells her why he’s not happy, Ava is determined to make him see the city with different eyes. With her encouragement, Ren eventually finds in the city “a new kind of wild,” proving that friendship often goes a long way toward curing homesickness. Hoang’s color-filled illustrations incorporate fanciful views of mythical creatures into the rainforest and equally whimsical robots and ETs into the very diverse city as Ren learns to see with Ava’s eyes. Ren and his family present white; Ava and her family present black; all characters seem to be Latinx.
A wise and gentle lesson on making and helping friends. (Picture book. 5-7)