My Mother Talks to Trees

Doris Gove, Author, Marilynn H. Mallory, Illustrator
Doris Gove, Author, Marilynn H. Mallory, Illustrator Peachtree Publishers $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-166-1
Paperback - 978-1-56145-336-8
Prebound-Other - 32 pages - 978-0-606-33712-0
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A baseball-capped mom stops to talk to trees as she walks her daughter home from school: ""Wow, little dogwood.... Redbud, you are beautiful."" While the mother comforts a redbud recovering from winter's wiles and shouts encouragement to a maple's unripened seeds, her dismayed daughter tries to appear as normal as possible to passersby. However, after her mother converses with 10 common landscape trees, the daughter herself surreptitiously slips into a low, sympathetic t te- -t te with the runt of a newly planted grove of walnut trees. Gove's text offers a few kid-pleasing, basic horticultural details within the mostly prosaic dialogue, but readers will likely find the minimal interaction between mother and daughter unconvincing. The flat dimension and crayon-like texture of newcomer Mallory's illustrations benefit from a bright palette and borders depicting close-ups of leaf, flower or fruit and, often, a small surprise (such as a nest-building bluebird unravels a mitten in the border of the sassafras spread). But the connection between the two characters is as absent in the drawings as it is from the text. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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