A young boy in China finds a way to save a family’s treasured tree.
As a child, Xiaoke’s father planted a peach pit outside his family’s home. The evenly paced narration reveals that Xiaoke now considers the now-grown tree “his peach tree brother,” and both father and son visit it even though his grandparents have already passed on. On a particular Lunar New Year, Xiaoke and his father visit the village and hang good-fortune poems on the doors. One month later, they return, observing the local barbershop busy with haircuts to welcome spring according to tradition. Resisting a trim, Xiaoke flees to his father’s now-abandoned old neighborhood, realizing that all the buildings are marked for imminent demolition. Worried, Xiaoke and a stray dog stand guard over the tree, pleading with the driver of the excavator to spare his brother. The driver questions the relation, arguing, “The peach tree’s hair is neat, but yours is so messy.” Finally Xiaoke has his hair trimmed, comically in the same shape as the peach tree’s branches. Satisfied, the driver avoids the tree, and Xiaoke and his father transplant both peach tree and stray dog to their city home. The narrative is punctuated by traditional sayings, the truth of which are borne out by the end. The charmingly simple illustrations bring texture and gentleness to this quiet story. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.5% of actual size.)
A sweet and simple tale imported from China.
(Picture book. 5-8)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 24
Publisher: Reycraft Books
Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020