by Cheryl Foggo
illustrated by Qin Leng
Second Story Press, 2011
ISBN 978-1-897187-91-3 (hc)
$15.95, 24 pp, ages 6 – 9
Maiko’s favourite baobab was more than 2,000 years old. “When this old baobab tree was a baby,” his mother used to joke with him, “that tall mountain over there was just a pebble.” Maiko misses that baobab. He misses his village in Africa. He is an orphan now and has moved to North America to live with his aunt and uncle. Maiko likes to sit on the front steps of his new house beside a little spruce tree that is growing under the mailbox. He likes to listen to its voice. After Maiko discovers that both he and the tree are seven years old he greets the spruce each day with “Hello, tree, same age as me.” The tree sings back to Maiko and shares his secrets. When Maiko discovers that the tree is to be cut down because its roots are growing too close to the house, he tries to save it. When his aunt and uncle realize how much the tree means to Maiko, they solve the problem by transplanting the tree into the forest. Maiko promises the tree to come often to visit and whispers “You see, we can’t always grow where we are planted. But we still can grow somewhere else.”
Classroom Connections: This sweetly illustrated picture book is the story of a small boy’s struggle to develop a sense of belonging in a new country. All primary aged children can relate to his vulnerability and to the many emotions expressed in Maiko’s story, making it an ideal venue for teaching the concept of making connections.
Review by Brenda Boreham.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Nov/Dec 2011 issue.