Nichols, Lori. Maple. Picture Book.
N. Paulsen/Penguin, 2014. p. $16.99.
OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-K.
Nichols’ debut features a little girl named Maple, who relies on a tree planted in her honor to be her playmate until she becomes a big sister. Pencil on Mylar illustrations, digitally colored, are sweet without being saccharine. Maple is a good big sister and refreshingly appears not to regret the baby’s arrival. Over the course of a short picture book, Maple grows from a typical self-absorbed preschooler to being concerned about the needs of the tree (is it cold? would the tree prefer a different friend?). These same qualities are applied to being a quality big sister. New sibling books are a dime a dozen, but Nichols’ illustrations require only the sparest of text to make an impact.
Beth Gousman, Montclair School
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