Cordell, Matthew. Evergreen. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2023.
“Deep in the Buckthorn Forest, at the northernmost edge of Burr Valley, high in the tallest red oak tree, behind the closed curtains of a bedroom window, hid a squirrel…” who is afraid of germs and thunderstorms, height, swimming, and meeting anyone new. Oh dear! What will she do when Mama sends her on an errand to take soup to Granny Oak? This new story by a Caldecott Medalist is recommended for anyone who likes picture books, anyone who appreciates pen and watercolour illustrations, and anyone who teaches literature or writing. Definitely a book to buy, not just borrow from a library.
For picture book lovers: notice how much of the story is told by the illustrations rather than the words.
For teachers of literature and writing: notice the use of vowel sounds and alliteration; notice the flow of the sentences; notice how there are a combination of complete and incomplete sentences, a combination of narration and speech; notice how the story is divided into different sections that relate to the stages of a hero’s journey; notice how the book references the Red Riding Hood story, not only by the visit to a sick grandmother but also by the red cape shown only in the illustrations; notice the surprise ending that leads to connections that readers can make to their own lives…
How are our own fears sometimes irrational? What factors give us the courage to act despite our fears? How do we learn to take chances again after people betray our kindness? Who are the people who encourage us? How does facing our fears change us?