cover image Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week

Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week

Mitali Perkins, illus. by Khoa Le. WaterBrook, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-23487-7

Broadly inspired by scripture, Perkins draws on nature to illuminate the story of Holy Week in this wide-ranging picture book. When Little Wind, humanized with a brown-skinned child’s face, blows into Jerusalem, a tall tree reveals that palm fronds will clap without need of the wind’s assistance “when Real King comes,” but Little Wind doubts that will be the case for frondless Bare Tree in Dead Garden nearby. As time passes, Real King does arrive, taking the form of light-brown-skinned Quiet Man, but he suddenly—and without much context for those who don’t know the story—hangs on a cross. Later, bold-hued, chaotic scenes depict the city burning, and Little Wind eventually revisits now-scorched Bare Tree, unexpectedly finding that she’s grown a few golden flowers. Inspired, the pair decide to scatter the blossoms’ seeds “far and wide” so that Bare Tree’s children “can clap around the world” when Real King again returns. Le’s elegant depictions of nature foreground seeds and fronds, gentling Perkins’s fast-moving, forward-looking chronology. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)