Maple – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Maple

Written and Illustrated by Lori Nichols

Published by Nancy Paulson Books, February 2014, an imprint of Penguin Group

Ages: 3-7

Themes: trees, siblings, seasons


Opening Sentence: 

Maple loved her name.


When Maple is a wee baby girl, her mom and dad plant a maple tree in her honor. This young maple sapling is the perfect playmate in Maple’s eyes. It is happy to be with her even in her loudest moments (which aren’t infrequent,) and through all the seasons, Maple finds games and activities to do with her friend. One spring, Maple is in for some big surprises including the arrival of a little sister. While caring for her tree came easily to Maple, caring for her baby sister doesn’t seem so instinctive. But Maple has a giving spirit and as she perseveres, she finds just the right thing to share with her sister to make her happy. (I am holding back so as not to give away the delightful ending)

Why I like this book:

I love Maple’s carefree, happy, creative character. She loves her tree, nature, the seasons, life and her baby sister. There is a lightness of spirit in all her actions, which tiptoes across the pages and makes you want to smile and go out and plant your own sapling. It is a super debut story that inspires a wonder for nature and the joy of life and family. This would make a great addition to any topics on seasons, siblings or nature’s cycles. My surname is mistaken for Maple all the time and it is a tree I love, and not just for its syrup! Maple is the sort of kid with whom I would love to hang around. Lori also made a great choice in only ever illustrating the parents from the waist down (though their love is still evident) and focusing the large, soft, flowing illustrations on the tree(s) and two girls!


Plant trees with your kids! It can even be a miniature bonsai in the apartment!  I think this is a fabulous thing to do as families or even as classes. When I was working at the International School of Monaco, each year I took my older students on a service trip to Madagascar. One of the things we joined in with was with an incredibly poor rural school, where every Wednesday afternoon the students were involved in their reforestation project.



Every Friday, authors and Kidlit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the perfect picture books with resources, please visit Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.


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31 Responses to Maple – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Krista says:

    I must have this book! I planted two banyan trees in my yard when my kids were little. Now, the trees are bigger than my house! Thank you, Joanna.

  2. I love your photos, and I cannot wait to read this charming book!

  3. Wendy Greenley says:

    After the recent ice storms took out so many old trees, this could be a good book to accompany re-planting! My “thinking spot” was in a maple tree when I was growing up. 🙂

  4. I enjoyed your interview with Lori. And, I really love the story about a family planting a tree for their child –very meaningful for the child. She has something that is hers to care for. My thinking spots were in cherry and willow trees. Maple sounds like a giving and spirited little girl. Your personal photos about children planting trees really add to your post. Great community activity for young people.

  5. clarbojahn says:

    I LOVE the reforestation project and the photos you have up! How great is that? Thanks so much for sharing it.

    And the book sounds lovely. Yes, there is a big difference in a tree and a baby sister. 🙂

  6. Joanna, this sounds wonderful. I’m actually planning on planting a sugar maple with my grandblessings this year. We had an old-old willow that had to be taken down. I love the pictures you shared of the kids planting trees. Were these children some of your students?

  7. Don’t tell Liv we didn’t, but she still tells everyone we named her for the olive tree, the tree of life. I like her story better anyway!
    Very much looking forward to see Lori’s book myself! And lucky you to have taken this field trip with your students; would love to here more about it.

    • Joanna says:

      Haha, Mum’s the word! Yes, I did this trip for several years. We also took our students onto the rubbish dumps on the capital where so many kids live. It was an amazing experience.

  8. Beautiful choice, Joanna. Love how she compares nature to family. Love also the photos you have shared here. Wonderful post! Must look for this book, thanks.

  9. Joanna says:

    Teaching children to appreciate nature is so important, right! Maple had this love instinctively.

  10. This sounds so sweet and delightful, Joanna! I’m dying to read it. And I also still have to read your interview with Lori which is on my to-do list! Love the idea of a story that combines nature and family 🙂

  11. Lori Nichols says:

    Joanna and everyone who has commented…thank you so very much. Maple is bursting with excitement to make it to bookstores and libraries. I hope she brings as much joy to those who read her as I had in bringing her to life. Many thanks.

  12. this looks like a great book for kids… and I love your photos. Now I gotta remember to drop by on Wed. to see what Lori has to say.

  13. Joanna says:

    Sue, it was last Wednesday, just hit “older post” to take a peek!

  14. I looked at the cover and the title and clicked over to my library’s website and was happy that they have copies on order and now I’m first in line to have the book when it comes in. And, yes, did read the rest of your review which made me want the book NOW!!! Thanks for adding this book!

  15. Back to my library account. This is a great list this week! I can’t wait to read Maple! Sounds like a fun little character.

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