Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Maple & Willow apart by Lori Nichols

Some series never reach the heights of the first book, or they start out weakly and improve as they go along. But Maple and Willow's stories keep the same simple, high quality storytelling and art in every new addition. I first fell in love with this series when Maple was a little girl, waiting for a new sister and a new tree to join her in MapleMaple & Willow Together features the sisters learning to get along and, despite occasional squabbles, having a close friendship.

But now Maple is growing up and going to school and the sisters have to renegotiate their relationship. Willow is lonely and jealous of Maple's new adventures and Maple seems to have forgotten the little sister she left behind. Can Willow make everything better again?

Nichols' simple prose and delicate illustrations bring to life the sisters who are growing up and changing, but are still so much alike. The glorious fall colors are echoed in the rainbow hues of Willow's imaginative adventures. The spreads of Maple and Willow interacting are spot illustrations on a white background while Willow's adventures with her new friend Pip explode into full-page color. Subtle details, like the endpages changing from green to orange, catch the eye and make this one to reread again and again.

Verdict: Parents will be sniffing at the bittersweet story of two sisters growing up and even children who don't have siblings will understand what it's like to struggle with changing as you grow older. Another pitch-perfect story from Lori Nichols about two sweet sisters. Highly Recommended.

ISBN: 9780399167539; Published 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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