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Under the Baobab Tree Hardcover – April 23, 2012
I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. Hardcover
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'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)
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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
"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.