Dept. of Darndest Things: Cheryl Foggo, Dear Baobab

My daughter Bridget, age 5, likes books as much as I do. When I can convince her to write a joint review of a new kids’ title, the result is a dispatch from the Dept. of Darndest Things.

Today we look at Dear Baobab (Second Story Press, $15.95), Cheryl Foggo’s story of an immigrant boy and a tree that’s been planted in the wrong place.

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What did you think of this story?

Bridget: I thought it was a good one.

Why?

B: That’s a hard one to know the answer to.

Off the top of your head, what are some reasons you liked it?

B: I mean, I bet there would be [one], it just slowly drifts out of your mind after the story’s over and you don’t really remember it anymore. It’s hard to say the answers to questions.

Okay. [We finished re-reading it literally 30 seconds ago.] Tell me one thing you remember about it.

B: [Points to a picture of Maiko and the baobab tree he’s had painted above his bed, which reminds him of the one back home in Africa.] 

Did you think it was interesting that Maiko wasn’t from Canada? We haven’t read many stories about people from Africa.

B: Yeah, we haven’t. Africa… Look, the moon is still out!

Did you notice that what happens to him is the same thing that happens to the spruce tree in his front yard?

B: Yes. For example, Maiko was planted in England. I mean, Africa. And he couldn’t grow there. He got sent to his aunt and uncle’s house. His parents died—where else could he go? And the tree can’t grow where it was actually planted, which makes more sense, and it has to be put in a forest.

Were any parts scary? Like when he’s worried the tree is going to get cut down?

B: It might be a bit exciting, in fact. Is it gonna? Is it not? What’s going to happen? Then you really find that out later, which is a bit of a surprise, I mean.

The person who wrote this book lives in Calgary. Isn’t it exciting to think that people are coming up with stories all over the place?

B: Even England.

What would you give it on a scale of 0 to 10?

B: Zero to 10? Good idea to add on zero, dad.

Oh, do you want to do 1 to 10 instead?

B: I said, “Good idea.”

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Want more like this? The entire Dept. of Darndest Things archive is clickably here.

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