Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Patricia Metola

Published by Flyaway Books

Summary:  Britta loves Apple and Magnolia, two trees who grow side-by-side, and is sure that they are friends.  Dad tells her kindly that he doesn’t think that’s possible, and big sister Bronwyn not-so-kindly agrees.  But Nana says that unusual friendships can be the most powerful.  When Magnolia starts to droop, Dad says she probably won’t make it through the winter, but Britta is sure that Apple can help Magnolia survive.  She encourages their friendship by knitting a long scarf to connect them and stringing lights in their branches so they can always see each other.  As winter turns to spring, Britta thinks that their branches are growing closer together, and Gran helps her create a chart to track this theory.  Magnolia is late to flower, but when the beautiful blooms finally appear, Britta is ready to celebrate.  Predictably, Dad and Bronwyn remain certain that Apple had nothing to do with Magnolia’s recovery, but Gran restates her position that unusual friendships are the most powerful of all.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This beautiful story includes friendship, a wise grandmother, and a nice dose of science, starting with an author’s note stating that scientists are just beginning to understand how trees communicate with each other.  Those wanting to learn more can read Lita Judge’s The Wisdom of Trees.  

Cons:  I was hoping for a little more of a change of heart from Dad.

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