Review: Maple and Willow Series by Lori Nichols


My friend recently lent us this picture book series and we totally fell in love with it!  My kids asked to read all four books straight through many different times.  The series follows two tree loving sisters as they grow, learn, change, and spend time together through all the seasons and always connected to their special trees.

I loved how there is a tree theme woven throughout all the stories- even including the beautiful end papers of  each book.  I think nature lovers would find a lot to admire in this story!



The sibling relationship is so tender while also being realistic because the sisters don’t always get along.  These books inspired my friend’s daughters to designate their own sister trees in their neighborhood and to speak in a made up language just like Maple and Willow.  How adorable is that?!

Sometimes in picture book series I love the first book and the rest of the sequels are just okay, but each book in this series is a great addition with plenty to love.  Here are the summaries and my thoughts on each book in the series:


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Lori Nichols’ enchanting debut features an irresistible, free-spirited, nature-loving little girl who greets the changing seasons and a new sibling with arms wide open.

When Maple is tiny, her parents plant a maple tree in her honor. She and her tree grow up together, and even though a tree doesn’t always make an ideal playmate, it doesn’t mind when Maple is in the mood to be loud—which is often. Then Maple becomes a big sister, and finds that babies have their loud days, too. Fortunately, Maple and her beloved tree know just what the baby needs.


My thoughts:

This one is a great addition to books for siblings getting ready to welcome a new baby.  It is so sweet to see the ways Maple finds to share her love of trees with her new sister and to see the progression of the pregnancy and birth in relation to the growing tree and changing season.




Maple and Willow Together


Celebrating imagination and inventive play, Lori Nichols’ follow-up to Maple perfectly captures the dynamics of siblings and their ability to figure things out on their own and find a way to meet halfway.

Maple and Willow do everything together. They love playing outside throughout the whole year, welcoming the sun, rain, leaves, and snow. But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, because sometimes big sisters can be bossy—and sometimes little sisters can be frustrating—and even the best of friends need a break from each other . . . at least until they can no longer bear to be apart.


My thoughts:

This book captures sibling dynamics really well as they have have great times of connecting and getting along so well as well as those times when they get so frustrated and hurt each other.




Maple and Willow Apart

Funny, relatable sibling dynamics make this story a wonderful way to address navigating big changes. Lori Nichols’s expressive artwork beautifully portrays Maple and Willow’s strong bond, and children will love the creative, kid-powered solution.

Maple and Willow have always been inseparable. So what happens when Maple starts big-girl school and Willow stays behind? Well, of course, both girls have marvelous adventures of their own, but the truth is, they miss each other. And when they see that the missing is mutual, they find a unique way to feel connected even when they have to be apart.


My thoughts:

There are a lot of books about older kids adjusting starting school for the first time, but this one captures the feelings of the siblings they are leaving behind and the changes for that relationship.  I love the solution they created together at the end.




Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree


Lori Nichols’s delightful book celebrates the bond of two nature-loving sisters, and their ability to find fantastic kid-powered solutions to any problem—and it will give allergy sufferers an extra reason to celebrate.

Maple and Willow love trees—and now they are getting their first real Christmas tree. It is going to be the best Christmas ever! After a snowy expedition to pick out the perfect tree, it’s time to decorate. But whenever Maple gets near the tree, she starts sniffling and sneezing. Could she really be allergic to the perfect Christmas tree? And if so, how will the girls find a way to make this the best Christmas after all?


My thoughts:

How perfect for a series about trees to have a Christmas book so they can bring in a Christmas tree!  However it doesn’t end up being ideal for Maple who seems to be allergic to their perfect tree.  Again, I love the solution that the girls come up with on their own!


Don’t miss this sweet series!



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