Monday, April 8, 2019

Book of the Week: Poetree

by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds

Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani 

Published by Dial, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-53912-1

Ages 4-7

“Spring is here at last. / I hope it doesn’t end too fast. / Like a bee I’ll sniff each flower, / And I’ll enjoy each springy hour / (So much).” Brown-skinned Sylvia ties her poem about spring to a birch tree. The next day the tree has written back! At school, not even the teasing of a classmate named Walt can dampen Sylvia’s enthusiasm for writing haiku. “White birch on the hill / Speaks out loud through rustling leaves / Great green Poetree.” On the way home, she pushes her haiku into a knothole on her “poetree.” The next day, a poem folded into a star shape falls from the tree’s branches. “… Can a tree and child be friends? / Your words give me hope.” Believable childlike behavior (and writing) along with moments of humor ground an engaging story that avoids preciousness. Clues provided in the lovely graphite pencil and watercolor illustrations mean young readers and listeners will likely already have noticed what Sylvia eventually understands: The identity of the other poet isn’t the tree at all. For Sylvia, it’s a discovery that starts with disappointment and ends with a new and surprising friend. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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