cover image The Tangerine Tree

The Tangerine Tree

Regina Hanson. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-68963-9

As her father packs, preparing to leave Jamaica for a job in New York, Ida is distraught. ""He never comin' back!"" she wails, despite her parents' assurances. Refusing to say good-bye, Ida hides in a tangerine tree. Papa tracks her down, gives her a copy of Stories of the Ancient Greeks and makes her a promise: ""Dis is our secret: by de time you are big enough to read it by yourself, I will be home."" In an affecting scene, Papa takes leave of his family and Ida gives him a gift-juice she has poured in a bottle: ""I squeeze out sun from de tangerines into it. If New York is cold and snowy when you get dere, dis bottle will warm you up."" Debut author Hanson, who was born and raised in Jamaica, conveys this gentle, rhythmic tale with a tone that is at once sad and hopeful. In his richly textured acrylic paintings, Stevenson's deft, impressionistic use of color and light recreates the ambience of the island, capturing as well the deep love connecting the members of this family. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)