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ARC Review: Kids’ Nonfiction for April 2023 – Trees Edition

The Forest Keeper– The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Rina Singh

Publication Date: April 18, 2023


Trees don’t grow on sandbars . . . but a boy from India grew a forest.

What can one person do in the face of global environmental degradation? Indian Jadav Payeng has proven that each and every one of us can make a difference. As a boy, he began planting trees on a sandbank in the state of Assam. Nobody believed that he would succeed in doing so. But since 1979, a forest the size of Central Park has emerged, offering a home to countless animals and plants. It was not until 2007 that a photographer accidentally discovered the forest and made Payeng known to the world beyond India.

Rina Singh has sensitively retraced the story of young Jadav. In Ishita Jain’s picture book debut as illustrator, readers feel immersed in the spectacular habitat whose existence borders on a miracle come true.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo and I have read a few books about Jadav Payeng now but this is one of my favorites. The story is very well-written and flows beautifully even though there really aren’t that many words per page. The watercolor illustrations of the plants and animals and people are absolutely gorgeous and definitely elevate the book. The text and images work together to tell the story, as the best picture books should do.

The story of Jadav Payeng is inspiring and a great way to encourage kids to persevere and dream and not give up. And to care for the environment – and that it is possible to effect positive change in the environment.

Highly recommend to read to any kids who will sit and listen. Age 4-10?

*Thanks to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing an early copy for review.

Rise to the Sky: How the World’s Tallest Trees Grow Up by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Publication Date: April 4, 2023


Trees are the tallest living things on Earth. But how do they grow to be so tall? Science writer Rebecca E. Hirsch presents a poetic introduction to the tree life cycle in Rise to the Sky. Accompanied by Mia Posada’s detailed collage illustrations, this book features the tallest tree species from around the world, including the coast redwood, the Sitka spruce, and the giant sequoia.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a very cute book about how tall trees grow. It is perfect for young kids. The text is simple but inspirational, and there is more information on the biology of trees and how one measures trees in the back. Not every kid will enjoy such additions (that’s why it’s in the back) but my kid loves that sort of thing.

The illustrations are what make this book really stand out. They’re detailed and realistic and it took me a few pages to realize that they’re not paintings but collage! Incredibly intricate and realistic collage. I’m very impressed. There is a lot of texture in the paper used for the collage and it really makes the illustrations unique.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for providing an early copy for review.

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