From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3?As his family prepares to leave their homeland for America, Jake is heartsick over the impending separation from his grandfather. In parting, Grandpa gives the boy a box containing butterfly seeds: "Just plant them in your new garden, and, like magic, you'll have hundreds of butterflies." After the long sea voyage, the family arrives at Ellis Island, and then makes their way to their new home?two rooms on the third floor of a crowded tenement. With the help of an Italian fruit vendor, a Chinese fish peddler, and an Irish blacksmith, Jake builds a windowbox garden, and is eventually rewarded with a harvest of butterflies. Watson effectively relates the simple yet affecting tale of a child's separation from his old home and beloved relative. Her fully bled paintings are vibrant and lovely. Each double-page spread is expertly composed to reveal a dramatic land, sea, or cityscape, and the carefully rendered characters are particularly expressive. Elisa Bartone's Peppe the Lamplighter (Lothrop, 1993) and Riki Levinson's Watch the Stars Come Out (Dutton, 1985) have stronger story lines, but this heartfelt and appealing title merits consideration.?Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-9. When Jake and his family emigrate to America, he is sad to leave his grandfather behind, but Grandpa gives Jake some "magic" butterfly seeds to plant in the new country and to remember him by. Watson's realistic double-spread paintings are as upbeat as the story, showing the journey by boat, the arrival at Ellis Island, and the hardworking immigrant community in turn-of-the-century New York. With the help of the people around him, Jake plants his seeds in a window box, and one day masses of butterflies flock to the plants in the box. From Jake's tenement window, he looks out on narrow, crowded streets. The alleys are dark, but individual faces, like Jake's, are lit with hope and friendship. Hazel Rochman