Written by: J. Leigh Shelton
Illustrated by: Danica Jokic
For ages: 5-10 years old
Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Friendship, Social-Emotional Growth, Nature, Natural World.
Summary: This book is a collection of 3 stories, connected by cameos and the rainforest.
The first story is about a boy named Sebastian, who lives with his grandmother and loves bananas very much. He plants a banana plant and when his grandmother asks if he plans on sharing the bananas, Sebastian assures her he won’t be able to because he will eat all of them. Once the tree starts producing fruit and Sebastian makes a new friend, will he be able to stick to his word and decide not to share?
The second story is about two cats, one very friendly and one very scared. The black cat is extremely cautious, because it had been hurt before. The two cat friends discuss what it means to be fulfilled in life, and how to be like the smiling sloth even through hardship. Can the black cat let go of the past and make new friendships?
The third story is about a dog, the titular character Firu. Firu has the honor of his fur being used to help build a hummingbird nest, thus beginning a close friendship with the tiny egg and subsequently tiny bird that hatches out of it.
These three stories are woven together by both the rainforest setting and the social-emotional growth of the characters that takes place within the stories. What I also like about the three stories in one book is that it allows for conversations with a group about the intertwined storylines, and inferencing about how else the characters might know each other outside of the stories. The illustrations are beautiful, and we enjoyed the longer text. The stories are a bit longer than typical picture books, which enabled the reader to know the characters better by the end of the story. This book could also be used to talk about the environment, preservation, and why we need to be conscientious of how to treat others.
This book was generously sent to us by the author, but all opinions are our own.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
J. Leigh Shelton is the author of Firu’s Forest and a freelance writer living in Florida.
Danica Jokic is the illustrator of Firu’s Forest! She also lives in Florida.