Rosario may not pull rabbits out of his hat but this "garden magician" enchants his little-girl neighbour every year with his garden full of vegetables. This year, Rosario does something different: he plants a fig tree that produces sweet, succulent fruit. In the fall, he buries the tree to the girl's dismay; she thinks the tree has died and merits a funeral. But next spring, Rosario digs up the tree and it yields its bounty once more. Magic indeed!
Charis Wahl's debut picture book has a deceptively simple style. It contains vocabulary appropriate for young readers but also introduces new gardening terms. She deftly crafts a relationship between a novice girl and her older, wiser neighbour whose white hair and wrinkles reflect his experience. The two share a love of growing things and teach readers about working with others and learning by doing.
Luminous illustrations by Luc Melanson enhance the story; the wide, expressive faces of the characters and the changing landscape of the garden draw attention to the acts of digging, planting and harvesting. Ultimately, "Rosario's Fig Tree" provides the perfect starting point for discussion about cooperation, friendship and nature. It may even inspire kids to plant a seed or two of their own.
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