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*This is the Tree: A Story of the Baobab* by Miriam Moss, illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway





 

This is the Tree: A Story of the Baobab
by Miriam Moss, illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway
Ages 4-8 32 pages Kane/Miller March 2005 Paperback    

Itís a treat to find a book for very young children that doesnít rely on dull language or sugary sweetness for enjoyment. This Is The Tree: A Story of the Baobab is a poetic tale of the African baobab tree. The ecological importance of the tree is shown through a series of elegant, three line stanzas. Each begins with ďThis is the tree,Ē offering young readers a chance to recognize words and read along, before continuing with more challenging and descriptive language. The repeated first words and brevity of the sentences take on the quality of a chant when read aloud and are powerfully visual even without illustrations.

The illustrations by Adrienne Kennaway sometimes feel unfinished, but they are colorful, soft, and full of details that small children will love discovering. The baobab is a world of soft grey curves, full of warm contrasting creatures and cool shadows, just begging to be touched.

The ode to the tree is followed by a two-page spread of baobab facts, presented in rather more conventional trivia form. The information that people have installed houses in baobab trunks and eat the leaves like mustard greens are interesting, but itís the magical poetry and inviting pictures of the African plains that children and parents will remember.
   


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