Irene's Wish
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Irene's Wish

by Jerdine Nolen, AG Ford
     
 

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A young girl wants her father to be home more, but her wish takes an unexpected turn in this story of enduring love between parent and child from an award-winning author and illustrator.

Irene loves her family, especially when her father is home. But Papa is gone a lot, and so Irene makes a wish for him to be with the family more. Her wish comes true in an

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Overview

A young girl wants her father to be home more, but her wish takes an unexpected turn in this story of enduring love between parent and child from an award-winning author and illustrator.

Irene loves her family, especially when her father is home. But Papa is gone a lot, and so Irene makes a wish for him to be with the family more. Her wish comes true in an unexpected way when Papa, who was drinking lemonade in the garden at the exact moment Irene made her wish, swallows a watermelon seed and begins a surprising transformation. Slowly and beautifully, day after day, Irene’s father turns into a tall, stately, and loving tree. Papa is a beautiful tree, but Irene wants her real Papa back. How could Irene have made such a wish, and how can she make things right?

Jerdine Nolen has written a modern fable about the power of wishes.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Jacqueline Briggs Martin
We see trees as sheltering, beneficent presences in our world. In the best of families we see fathers as sheltering, beneficent presences. This book is an ambitious play on a metaphor, illuminating family life. But it's also a tale about a busy Papa who learns something during his spell as a tree: that he can find a way to "save some time to be with Mama and Jimmy and Baby Thomas…and you, Irene."
October 2014 - Booklist
Luminous, saturated acrylics and oil illustrations create a warm, cozy story of a close-knit African American family who just need a priority reset. Lush green trees, brilliant blue skies with fluffy white clouds, and almost tangible textures throughout, especially when Papa is blooming, will captivate readers. A fanciful, cautionary tale that reminds children to be careful what they wish for.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-08-20
A tale of wishes, family and magic of many kinds. Irene, a young brown-skinned African-American girl with billowing locks, makes a wish that changes everything, especially for Papa, a gifted farmer. Irene loves her father but regrets that he's so busy growing things that he rarely has time for her or other family members. After Irene "hope[s] and dream[s] and wishe[s] on all the stars that [sparkle] in the skies and on all the apples that ever dangled from any tree," and Papa drinks the seeds she has accidentally left in his iced tea, a transformation takes place that ultimately gives her what she wants…sort of. Unfortunately, daily access to Papa comes with a price. Like Nolen's Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm (illustrated by Mark Buehner, 1994), this mystical tale raises many questions for readers to ponder long after they close the book. For what, exactly, does Irene wish? How does she unwish it? Is Papa's transformation literal or metaphorical? Who in this family learns the most important lesson from the events that unfold? Ford's acrylic-and-oil illustrations bring readers into close contact with a demographic rarely portrayed in children's literature: a middle-class African-American farming family. The lively images make the magic real.With this book, Nolen and Ford broaden the African-American picture-book palette in ways that are both delightful and memorable. (Picture book. 3-7)
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
Gr 1–3—Irene's papa has a magic touch, and he can make just about anything grow ("Papa always says, 'If a star can grow inside an apple, anything is possible!'"; "'Seeds,' he says, 'are very full of possibilities.'"). His work keeps him quite busy, and the children wish he could spend more time at home playing with them. The man finds out just how far those possibilities can go when Irene accidentally serves him iced tea filled with the kids' secret stash of seeds. He undergoes a radical transformation, and although he is still loved and considered part of the family, his wife and children long for him to return to normal. As she did in Plantzilla (Harcourt, 2002), Nolen proves again her ability to weave nature and life cycles into fanciful stories that children and adults will enjoy. Although Irene's Wish is a bit text-heavy for some newly independent readers, the themes of family, devotion, and the power of wishing will resonate with many. Ford's illustrations, rendered in acrylics and oil, bring life to the action with deep texture and vivid detail. This book will be a perfect family read, tucking many children in for dreams of grand possibility.—Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689863004
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
10/28/2014
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
729,251
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Jerdine Nolen is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Eliza’s Freedom Road, illustrated by Shadra Strickland; Raising Dragons, illustrated by Elise Primavera, which received the Christopher Award; and Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, illustrated by Mark Buehner, which won the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. She and Kadir Nelson collaborated on Thunder Rose, which School Library Journal called “a wonderful tale of joy and love”; and Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life, which received the Society of Illustrators’ Gold Medal. Jerdine Nolen lives with her family in Ellicott City, Maryland.

AG Ford is the illustrator of many books for children, including the New York Times bestseller Barack by Jonah Winter, Michelle by Deborah Hopkinson, and Goal! by Mina Javaherbin. He also contributed to Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook. He lives in Frisco, Texas with his wife, Brandy. Visit him at AGFordIllustration.com.

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