This is a charming story about a young Mexican girl learning about generosity and forgiveness. One night Rosalinda is awakened by a noise in the garden. A man is stealing lemons from her beloved tree! She consults the wise old woman La Anciana, who offers her a creative solution. Watercolor and pastel illustrations make the story appealing for young readers who are learning the pleasures sharing. The Spanish vocabulary in the book gives the characters a sense of place.
One night young Rosalinda wakes up to a "Wsss--shhh--snap!" outside. She slips out of bed and peers out the front door into the darkness. Way back by the lemon tree, something is moving. It's a man stuffing lemons, her very own lemons, into a cloth sack! To make matters worse, by the end of the week her lemon tree is very sick. As she wanders through the Mexican countryside seeking tree-healing advice, she sees the mysterious Night Man at the mercado--and he is selling her beautiful limones! She summons the help of La Anciana, a wise old woman with gentle eyes, and it is finally she who provides a creative solution. That night, Rosalinda sleeps under her lemon tree, and as she slumbers, "Her tree glowed golden in the night, dripping with lemons as big and round as baby moons." Her tree is magically cured! The next day she hands out the amazingly fat lemons, one by one, giving the very last lemon to the Night Man at the mercado. " Siembra las semillas. Plant the seeds," she tells him as he tilts his head towards his hungry family. "For you and for them." He agrees to do as she says, and Rosalinda's heart is "as full as a lemon moon." This simple tale of human compassion will appeal to young children on many levels. They'll be alarmed about the thief, concerned about the sick tree that makes Rosalinda so sad, relieved to see the tree in full fruit, and happy to see how kind and generous Rosalinda is in the end. (Click to see a sample spread. Text ©1999 by Edith Hope Fine. Illustrations ©1999 by Rene King Moreno, reproduced with permission of Lee & Low Books, Inc.) (Ages 3 and older) --Karin Snelson