Lucy and Mother Maple
by Emily & Dustin James
Thank you to Reedsy Discovery for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: August 22, 2022.
Lucy and Mother Maple is a wonderful combination of storytelling and illuminating illustrations. This short and sweet story begins with Lucy and her grandfather on the family farm. We see the world through Lucy’s eyes, and discover a world that is truly alive and thriving all around her. Lucy treats Mother Maple, a strong maple tree on the farm, with as much care and compassion as she shows to the animals who roam and patrol the property.
We watch Lucy learn tough lessons about human greed and loss, as time simultaneously strips away her once thriving maple tree and her loving grandfather. Despite her circumstances, Lucy never gave up and continued to care for the tree the way her grandfather had cared for her. This story is a reminder that all living things are worthy of love, tenderness, and care. Sometimes we need to see through a child’s eyes again to remember what it felt like to walk barefoot through the grass, and to feel the kindred spirit of the trees that selflessly gave us so much in the form of shade, a safe place to rest, and fruit to eat.
While the premise of the story itself is whimsical, the writing felt a bit flat in places. It felt like it was missing a bit of flourish that could have enhanced the atmosphere of the plot. This is definitely a personal preference, and I think the story overall did a wonderful job commenting on how humans treat the world around them: like a child full of awe and wonder, or like a weathered adult only seeking their own financial gain. The illustrations for this story were absolutely superb. I loved the art style, the movement in the pieces, and how well they encompassed the mood of each moment. The artwork and the story itself work so well together to create a cohesive and immersive experience.