cover image The City Tree

The City Tree

Shira Boss, illus. by Lorena Alvarez. Clarion, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-358-42341-6

Boss writes in praise of city greenery with this appealing story about the planting of a tree in front of a child’s apartment building. Frequently alliterative prose describes the sapling’s positive impact on the block, as witnessed by protagonist Dani, who’s portrayed with brown skin. Soon, “little birds in the tree chirped and cheeped,” blocking sounds below. And while the “traffic bellowed and belched,” leaves “shielded Dani from the noise and grime.” Cast in mauves and blues, Alvarez’s digital renderings emphasize the geometry of the city block, the attributes of the maturing tree across the seasons, and the tree as part of Dani’s community, which includes figures of varying abilities, ages, body types, and skin tones. Bustling city scenes center the tree not as backdrop but as full-fledged neighbor, reinforcing the text’s encouragement of stewardship. Back matter includes more about street trees. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)