By: Laura Gehl

Illustrated by: Patricia Metola

Published: February 8, 2022

Publisher: Flyaway Books


I grew up much like Britta in this story, loving trees. I played under and in the trees on our farm on a near-daily basis as a child. I created all kinds of imaginative worlds and stories while playing around the trees. As an adult, I knew when we bought our current home, I would want trees. In August of 2020, after the Derecho went through our community, we lost our two beloved Autumn Blaze Maples. They were towering and brought lots of shade, homes and protection for the birds, and beautiful colors in the fall. I believed they were best friends and was heartbroken when they didn’t make it through the storm. We have since planted three new trees to replace them, one being a Magnolia and I hope that she finds our yard a wonderful place to grow. If you too like trees and want to learn how they actually do communicate with each other, I highly recommend the adult non-fiction book, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES.

Apple and Magnolia are the two trees in Britta’s family’s backyard. Every day she goes out to visit the trees and believes wholeheartedly that Apple and Magnolia are best friends. Her dad and sister don’t agree. But, her grandma believes that unusual friendships can be the most powerful of all.

One day, Magnolia begins to lose some leaves and looks a bit droopy. Britta can’t bear to lose Magnolia and believes it is up to her and Apple to save her. Britta comes up with a plan to help save Magnolia with help from Apple. Every day she checks to see if her plan is working and when she starts to notice a bit of change in Apple and Magnolia, she has no doubt that the two really are best friends.

I really love the unique artwork and illustrations created by Metola. The colors are vibrant and convey the message of the story with very little detail in the images. Britta’s determination to save Magnolia and the support from her grandma make this a story about more than just an unusual friendship, but one of encouraging a child’s passion and seeing it blossom…literally. Thanks to Laura Gehl for sharing her passion for trees with children.

Download a free educator’s guide, HERE.

Laura Gehl is the award-winning author of more than thirty popular picture books, board books, and early readers including One Big Pair of Underwear, Except When They Don’t, My Pillow Keeps Moving, and the Baby Scientist series. A former science writer and teacher, Laura holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband, four children, and a large stash of dark chocolate. Visit Laura online at

Patricia Metola has illustrated more than twenty books for children. Her work has been showcased by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on several occasions. She lives in Madrid, Spain.

To purchase a copy of APPLE AND MAGNOLIA click the photo below:

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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