Pine and the Winter Sparrow

pine-and-the-winter-sparrowRetold by Alexis York Lumbard, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. Wisdom Tales, 2015. 26 pages. $15.95/hardcover; $9.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–8.

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Bookended by storyteller Robert Lewis’s foreword and the author’s own explanatory note, this Native American fable attributes the pine tree’s evergreen leaves to its kindness to an injured sparrow. The deciduous trees have all refused to shelter a small bird whose broken wing condemns him to waiting out the winter while the rest of the flock migrates south. The pine alone does the right thing. Lumbard’s prose is a little stilted and flowery for my taste, as is sometimes the case with such retellings; nevertheless it presented no obstacles to my seven-year-old listener, who gave it full attention and a thumbs up. (The publisher recommends it for children in kindergarten through third grade, which seems about right.) Artist Beatriz Vidal, whose work New Yorker readers might recognize, provides appealing, colorful, double-page illustrations. The simple tale illustrates the importance of making the kind choice and should be useful in First-day school or Quaker homes.

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