Maple & Willow Together – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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ma dnwTitle: Maple & Willow Together

Written and illustrated by: Lori Nichols

Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books, Nov. 4th, 2014

Themes/Topics: sisters, sibling dynamics, making up

Suitable for ages: 3-7

Fiction, 32 pages


Maple and her little sister, Willow, were always together.


Maple and her squeezable little sister, Willow, adore playing together indoors, and outdoors whatever the season. Whether romping in the snow, reading or playing with worms, you’ll find Maple and Willow happy together. They even have their own language. But, even of the best of the best little sisters sometimes do thing that annoy big sisters. And even the closest of the closest  big sisters can be a little obnoxious. They have a falling out over silly things like counting and dandelions and,

Neither sister want to be together ever again.

Time out in separate rooms is all it takes for these two sisters to miss each other’s company, and each reach out to the other to patch up their differences. They return to their pig-latin, plant-play and bath time, their sibling-bond even more solid than ever!

Why I like this story:

Lori Nichols captures the heart and special bond of sisters in their own world of imaginative and resourceful play. The raw frustration in the story’s crisis rings very true as does the capacity to make up, for two so close, without parental intervention being necessary.

The addition of the young willow tree near the larger maple tree in the yard is the outdoor back drop to their creative play. The theme of nature-wonder continues in this sequel with Maple sharing her awe and connection with Willow. The illustrations, with plenty of white space, are warm and tender, featuring similar round heads full of a love and curiosity for the natural world, create additional empathy for the two girls. The maple leaf drifts into several scenes too!

I love the introduction to pig latin and older readers who don’t know this will enjoy the puzzle of deciphering it.

I loved MAPLE and am not at all disappointed with this sequel.


  • On Lori Nichols website she has a Maple & Willow Story Hour Activity Kit.
  • I would read this in conjunction with MAPLE and let children look at any similarities in the two books.
  • Children can discuss experiences of falling out/making up with siblings and friends.
  • Children can say whether they think that the two sisters change as a result of their experience.
  • Read an interview with Lori Nichols here.
  • Older children can definitely start writing some simple sentences in pig latin!
  • Have children come up with names that could be uses if Maple and Willow had some other siblings!

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. Review copy provided by publisher.

Also, I am happy to announce the winner of last friday’s giveaway, a signed copy of IMANI’S MOON is Maria Marshall. Look for an email from me, Maria!

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11 Responses to Maple & Willow Together – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Hot off the press! What an engaging book for sisters. I like that the sisters make up after silly conflicts because they miss each other during timeouts. The illustrations are beautiful. Lovely share.

  2. Iway ovelay ouryay eviewray!

  3. I cannot wait to read this! It sounds so adorable and I did love Maple! The cover and title are pure perfection!

  4. Ha, I have a friend who like to talk pigeon-English when he wants to tease me…haha. This reminded me of him. Beautiful looking book with such a delicate message and very cute. Thanks Joanna.

  5. rhythm says:

    This one looks pretty cute. I know quite a few kids who could relate to this story. And pig Latin too?! Incredible!

  6. Clarbojahn says:

    This book sound s like I would like to give it to my sister for christmas this year, Jonanna. So sweet. And just like sisters. 🙂

    I put it on my pinterest page. 🙂

  7. Maple was delightful so I’m sure Maple & Willow Together will be doubly delightful!

  8. Looking forward to reading this one.

  9. I loved Maple – and definitely want to read this book about her “sisterly” relationship. Yep, we big sisters can be a bit bossy and know-it-all… especially when it comes to dandelion-counting. Definitely going on my “to read” list.

  10. Catherine says:

    This is perfect timing for my two monkeys 😉

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