The Perfect Tree by Chloe Bonfield

The Perfect Tree by Chloe Bonfield

The Perfect Tree by Chloe Bonfield (InfoSoup)

Jack headed out to find the perfect tree, one that was just right to chop down for firewood. But he was having trouble finding that perfect tree. Jack finally sat down under a tree in the forest in despair. Then a woodpecker offered to help Jack find the perfect tree. She flew to a tree and after knocking on a branch all sorts of birds flew out of it. Then a squirrel said that he too could show Jack the perfect tree. Taking Jack into a great oak tree, the squirrel revealed his stash of nuts and berries for the winter. Next a spider showed Jack her favorite tree where a web hung filled with water drops. It was then that Jack was inspired by the rain to find another perfect tree that was just right to stay dry under.

Bonfield has written an ecology picture book that focuses not on how wrong it is to cut down trees, but instead how the definition of “perfect” means different things to different creatures. And how your appreciation of an object in a new way leads to changes in the way you see the world. I appreciate that the book does not lecture about the environment or appreciating nature. Instead the book focuses on the beauty of nature and how it can transform us if we pay attention.

Bonfield’s illustrations are amazing. Done in papercut images and collage, they form two and three dimensional structures and then are lit so that there are shadows that play against other parts of the illustration that glow. The result is a picture book landscape that feels immersive and tangible.

A clever look at the pursuit of perfection and the power of nature. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Jess Golden (InfoSoup)

This picture book puts an Eastern Indian twist on The Wheels on the Bus rhyme. Here it’s the tuk tuk taxi’s wheels that go round and round instead. The picture book captures the hustle and bustle of a city in India with people getting on and off the tuk tuk, rupees going ching ching as payments are made, and people having to squish in together.The tuk tuk stops for cows in the road and also for a drink of chai for the driver. There are spraying elephants and then the trip ends with Diwali fireworks in the sky. It’s a merry and dynamic ride that pays homage to the original while being uniquely its own story.

It is the energy of this book that makes it so much fun. The setting is captured in small moments that make sure that readers know that they are somewhere specific and exceptional. The rhyme retains its dynamic pace with the tuk tuk filling with passengers of all ages as the book moves along the streets of India.

The illustrations in the book are bright and cheery. They show busy streets with monkeys, cows, goats and more. Good food appears like steaming chai and poppadoms and then is happily shared with one another.

A superb look at another culture through a familiar preschool rhyme, this picture book invites readers along for a ride of a different sort. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.