Reviews for We Planted a Tree

Booklist Reviews 2010 February #2
A family in Brooklyn plants a tree in their small backyard; turn the page and a Kenyan family plants a tree on the bare African savannah. Then in Paris, Tokyo, and more places across the globe, each newly planted tree grows up, as the children in the family do. Muldrow weaves some science into the lines: "Sunshine went into the leaves / And brought food to the tree," and through the seasons, the trees grow beautiful pink blossoms, green leaves that help clean the air, and fruit, while their roots keep the soil from blowing away and provide a place for families to plant food. Illustrating the simple poetry are clean-lined digital illustrations that show the botany details and celebrate the connections between plants and people, present and long-term, across time and space, as each generation continues the conservation efforts and helps "heal the earth." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Each of two families--one in a developed, urban setting and the other in a developing, agrarian region--cultivates a tree whose rewards include better air quality and healthier soil. The global ramifications of a simple seed will be news to many young readers, who will enjoy tracking the growth of both the trees and the featured families, whose members age before readers' eyes in the crisp illustrations. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 February #2
Using a quote from Wangari Maathai as a springboard, Muldrow's poem delineates the tree's seasonal cycles and celebrates its benefits for living creatures. In natural language, the narrator adopts a global view, lauding her subject's abilities to cool the earth, clean the air and prevent erosion ("The tree kept the soil from blowing away-- / Now rainwater could stay in the earth"). Staake is an accomplished illustrator with many New Yorker covers under his belt. His ultra-stylized depictions rove from Brooklyn to a presumed African plain, to Tokyo, Paris, New England and possibly the Cinque Terre (though one where apples and lemons yield concurrently), riding roughshod over the poet's delicate allusions. The stripped-down computer-generated pictures vie with the ecology-focused subject rather than extending it, and the pie-eyed, inane expressions of the humans depicted around the globe flirt visually with the stereotypical cultural caricatures common to the mid-century European advertising posters that the illustrator credits as influences. Consider instead other children's works inspired by Maathai, such as Donna Jo Napoli's Mama Miti, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (2010). (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 March #1

As Staake shows families around the world planting trees and enjoying their gifts, Muldrow sets an incantatory mood: "We planted a tree./ We planted a tree and it grew up." Each spread bubbles with retro-styled, wide-eyed exuberance; it's a kick to see how Staake wields geometry as he gleefully globe-trots, wrapping his curvilinear-inclined aesthetic around locales as far flung as the African savanna, downtown Paris, Brooklyn, and snowy New England. Its unconditional joy and exuberance stand out. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 March

PreS-Gr 4--With a synergistic mesh of lyrical language and bright, expansive illustrations, this picture book enumerating the many benefits of trees is a winner. Muldrow's poetic text shapes beauty from simple observations: "The sunshine went into the buds,/And soon they burst open./Everywhere it was pink./And we were dizzy/With springtime." As the text describes the growth of the tree and the many benefits it provides (shade, clean air, fruit, sap, and holding the soil, among others), Staake's signature modernized cartoon-style illustrations circle the globe, showing families in New York, Vermont, Japan, Kenya, France, and Italy as they enjoy what the trees have to offer. Enjoyable and informative, this beautiful presentation of a clear ecological message is perfect for sharing on Earth Day, Arbor Day, or in ecology units.--Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

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