Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo illus. by Qin Leng
Maiko misses the giant baobab tree in his African village when he has to go live with his uncle and aunt. At his new school Maiko is teased about his ears. Maiko finds comfort in a young spruce tree under the mailbox. When he discovers that the young tree is about the same age as him, Maiko begins to confide in it.
"After that, Maiko would say, " Hello tree, same age as me," on his way out and on his way in. Sometimes, he sat on the step and shared secrets that he told to no one else. He talked of his village and the baobabs, and how he missed his friends at the school where he had gone after his father and mother died. He told of how lonely he felt as the wind blew him across the wide ocean in an airplane, and how strange it was, at first, to sleep in the red brick house."
When Maiko learns that his uncle and aunt plan on chopping down the spruce because they're worried about the houses foundation, Maiko does everything he can to save it. This is a wonderful story and I love the connection the author makes with Maiko and the spruce. Both find themselves rooted in an unexpected place.
The cover art didn't grab me nor did it do the interior illustrations any justice. Once you open up the book, Leng's illustrations are a very good match for the story. Dear Baobab is text heavy making this great story, perfect for young listeners or readers ages 5 up.