Maple and Rosemary

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Feb. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823449675.
PreS-Gr 2–Two lonely and unlikely individuals meet and establish a friendship that spans a generation in this touching and tender picture book. The opening text establishes a timeless atmosphere, stating, “Once there was a tree,” whom readers soon learn is Maple. Maple yearns for someone to talk to when a young child named Rosemary clambers up her branches. They become fast friends, with Rosemary teaching Maple the alphabet and how to count, and the tree in turn showing the child nearby butterflies and other treasures of the forest. One day, Rosemary does not come to visit, leaving Maple overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness once more. Stunning illustrations depict the passing of seasons and the eventual reunion of the duo. James’s text centers Maple, rather than Rosemary, as the main character, providing the unique protagonist with emotions and feelings, while Mann’s mixed-media spreads capture the beauty and wonder of the seasons. Pair with Andrea Zimmerman’s If I Were a Tree and Micha Archer’s Wonder Walkers for other spectacular titles that feature themes of appreciation for nature.
VERDICT A tale of friendship and the environment that will find a home in many collections.

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