Tito’s Coconut Tree

Jeanne Bankson

Publisher: Joyful Books Publishing Pages: 32 Price: (paperback) $7.99 ISBN: 9798218351670 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

A rhyming picture book about a young crab who learns home isn’t a place but a feeling, Tito’s Coconut Tree helps ground young readers in the joy of being with those you love.

Tito narrates the story, proudly introducing his mom and dad and telling readers about their home beneath a coconut tree. He loves their life and is, therefore, devastated when a storm knocks down their beloved coconut tree and destroys their house. Sheltered in a turtle shell with his parents, he bemoans the loss of his room.

Together, his mother and father prompt him to share the things that bring him the most joy, like getting tickled by his dad, and the things that pick him up when he’s feeling down, like getting hugs from his mom and building sandcastles. They point out that as wonderful as their house was, home goes wherever you are because it’s not a place but the feeling of being safe, loved, and happy.

The richly colored, full-page illustrations, often depicting moments of peak emotion or action, bring the book to life. For example, the closing lines—“No matter the roof/ or color of door,/ home is the moments/ that make your heart soar”— are coupled with a spread depicting the sun returning after the storm, which helps the text strike an even more hopeful tone. The story’s word choice is easy for young readers to follow, and the rhyme scheme is smooth and enjoyable.

The narrative would benefit from more compassion when it comes to Tito’s feelings: His parents redirect his emotions so quickly, he doesn’t have a chance to process and grieve a scary situation. Still, this is an uplifting tale that directs readers to focus on what really matters. Tito’s relatable perspective makes this particularly useful for children who will soon move to a new home.

Author's Current Residence
Los Angeles, California
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