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Under the Baobab Tree Hardcover – April 23, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310725615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310725619
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,109,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

STARRED REVIEW: From the opening full-bleed, full-spread watercolor illustration of a young boy greeting the dawn in front of his grass-roofed hut with arms stretched wide toward heaven, to the final spread of a community gathered to praise God under a baobab tree’s encompassing branches, a spirit of quiet joy and wonder reverberates through this tale. As brother and sister Moyo and Japera walk dusty roads to the next village, they pass through their diverse community: weaverbirds in acacia trees, gazelle at a watering hole, a termite mound “rising from the tall grass like a finger pointing to heaven,” rendered by Lewis (Bat Boy and His Violin) as a vivid red natural sculpture decorating a brown, arid plain. Amid the children’s observations and musings, Stiegemeyer (Seven Little Bunnies) interweaves the refrain “But who will gather today under the baobab tree?” A preface page introduces the baobab tree, describing its practical and spiritual value to the African savanna’s human and animal communities. Understated lyricism combines with uncluttered, foreground-focused depictions of creation in this prose hymn of thanksgiving, prayer, and praise. (Publisher's Weekly)

'A subtle, captivating glimpse of another way of life, with a regrettably generalized author’s note about the significance of the baobab tree in African culture.' - Kirkus Review (Kirkus Review)

'Amid the children’s observations and musings, Stiegemeyer (Seven Little Bunnies) interweaves the refrain “But who will gather today under the baobab tree?” A preface page introduces the baobab tree, describing its practical and spiritual value to the African savanna’s human and animal communities. Understated lyricism combines with uncluttered, foreground-focused depictions of creation in this prose hymn of thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.' - Publishers Weekly Review (Publisher Weekly Review)

More About the Author

Julie Stiegemeyer has authored more than twenty books for children, including picture books and board books. She has also written for magazines, newspapers, and devotional books. In addition to writing, Julie works at her local public library, and she enjoys speaking about writing for children and adults. Julie lives in the Chicago area. Find out more at www.juliestiegemeyer.net.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Galilee M. Weldon on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love children's stories and looked forward to receiving this product - making it gift to my grandson. However, though not a bad story, it was a disappointment to me. I realize as an adult maybe I have a different view but it seemed to lack a true story. It didn't really show any real information about the culture, or the stories main character. But, the pictures are delightful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly Scudero on August 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Take a journey across the beautiful landscapes of Africa with Moyo and Japera, siblings on their way to the baobab tree, which is also known as The Tree of Life. On any given day many different people can be found gathered under the baobab tree. Sometimes there are traveling merchants, and other times the village elders can be found there. As the two children walk there, they see a great variety of the wildlife that the African savannah has to offer. And as they walk, they can't help but wonder: who will gather under the baobab tree today?

Told with beautiful language that powerfully evokes precise mental images, "Under the Baobab Tree" is a perfect way for children to escape from the dreariness of city life into an unfamiliar land. Author Julie Stiegemeyer certainly has a way with words, and her simple yet elegant story will draw young readers in. Likewise, E. B. Lewis' watercolor illustrations are the perfect companion to this story. Readers should be aware that there is a strong religious undercurrent in this picture book; some will love the references to God, but others may be turned off by it. This is a lovely book that young readers will surely enjoy.

Originally published for San Francisco/Sacramento Book Reviews.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bethany on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Two African children Moyo and Japera walk a dusty road from their village to the baobab tree. The children pass savanna wildlife in their journey, and the village life that daily mingles around "the tree of life" is vividly displayed.

Then, Moyo sees the giant baobab.

Ten children with arms wide open couldn't circle it. The old tree looks upside down; its gnarled branches, like roots, brush against the heavens.

But, who will gather today under the baobab tree?

The answer: a Christian worship service without elaborate architecture or instrumentation, simple and beautiful.

E.B. Lewis's watercolors imaginatively depict the villagers, wildlife, and African landscapes. His illustrations of the people gathering to worship were particularly enjoyable with varied bright hues of clothing.

I loved the simplicity and beauty of this picture book. Not only will children enjoy the illustrations and poetic writing, but they will imagine how church may look different and yet be similar in a unfamiliar ethnic context. The front page also contains additional information about the baobab tree for curious parents and children.

This review is from my blog No Twiddle Twaddle. I was provided with a review copy from Zondervan.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LeAnne Hardy on May 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Under the Baobab Tree could take place anywhere in southern Africa. Bits of it remind me of Mozambique or South Africa where my family has lived. E. B. Lewis' beautiful watercolor illustrations show glimpses of African culture as two children imagine various activities that typically go on in the shade of the "tree of life" where they are going. When they arrive, a church service meets under the tree.

"Here there are no windows or doors.
No church bells or steeple.
No organ or flowers.

Just a cross and a Bible,
a pastor and songs,
voices and prayers."

The story might be a little confusing to young children because the pictures of the various activities going on under the tree are conjecture and not what is actually happening, but with a little interpretative help from adults, this shouldn't be a problem. The book would make a wonderful addition to your church library.
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