CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 5. . . .September 30, 2011
Dear Baobab is a sweet story about a boy who moves from Africa to North America, and doesn't quite fit in. Maiko sits beside the small spruce tree that grows in front of his house but dreams about the huge baobab that dominated his village in Africa.
When Maiko discovers that the spruce tree is seven years old, he feels a kinship with it. He greets the tree on his way in and out of the house: "Hello tree, same age as me." But the spruce is in danger – its roots are growing too close to the house's foundation. Like the boy, it has been planted where it does not belong. Unaware of his attachment to the spruce, Maiko's aunt and uncle decide to chop it down. In the end, the tree is saved and Maiko begins to feel a sense of belonging in his new home: "You see, we can't always grow where we are planted. But we can still grow somewhere else."
Dear Baobab deals with serious, even tragic, subject matter with a great deal of grace. Maiko's identification with the spruce tree provides an uplifting metaphor which prevents the story from getting bogged down. Instead, Maiko's story is simple and buoyant and will appeal to a wide range of children.
Katie Edwards is a Customer Service Manager with Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.