Review of The Mango Tree / La mata de mango

The Mango Tree / La mata de mango
by Edel Rodriguez; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Abrams    48 pp.
6/24    9781419745867    $18.99
e-book ed.  9798887073736    $17.09

In this wordless picture book, two boys make a mango tree (or mata de mango) their hideout — napping, eating juicy mangos, and even taunting some fearsome creatures from the safety of its branches. When a vicious storm blows through their island, it whisks away the mango tree in its boat-like pot, along with one child. After a choppy night at sea, boy and tree land on another island, with unfamiliar people and vegetation. The boy plants the last mango from the tree, and as a new tree grows, it becomes a space to play and enjoy its fruit for a crowd of children. Rodriguez’s striking wood block and digital illustrations in a limited color palette are dynamic and well-balanced, with the sunset-glow of a mango guiding viewers through even the darkest spreads. Although the story itself is fantastical, the author’s note — provided in both English and Spanish — explains how Rodriguez was inspired by his own experience of migration and by the mango tree and best friend he left behind.

From the July/August 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monica de los Reyes

Monica de los Reyes is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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