Irene's Wish by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by AG Ford is another new 'tall tale' story from this amazing author. She has such a way of making up stories that they seem like they've been around as long as Johnny Appleseed or John Henry accounts. This story starts with Irene and how she wishes that her dad wasn't so busy and could stay home and play with her and the family. Papa swallows a cup full of seeds and becomes a tree that grows huge in the family yard. The Papa Tree lasts through all the seasons but when winter comes something changes. You'll have to read Irene's Wish to find out what changes, though! I won't give it away!
The illustrations for this book are rendered in acrylics and oil on illustration board. They are radiant, rich, and deep with color and character.
I'll use this with 3rd grade students and up. In 3rd grade they start comparing traditional literature like folktales, myths, legends, and tall tales. I always love to share a new tall tale that comes along, especially one that features an African-American family.