4 out of 4 stars
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According to Matt Rossi, the author of Nonno, the Fig Tree, and Me, family is everything. From weekend family barbeques to holiday parties, there were always opportunities to eat, laugh, dance, and spend time with family. While growing up, Matt developed a close relationship with Nonno, his grandfather. Nonno wanted to make sure that Matt grew up having close family relationships and decided to purchase a fig tree. What does this have to do with taking care of a tree? Why did Nonno want Matt to take care of the fig tree once he was old enough to do so? Find the answer in this delicately written memoir.
Mr. Rossi used illustrated and realistic pictures to tell his story. I was unsure if both styles would be on the same page, but I am happy to say they were not. The illustrations capture the emotions and personalities of the family members, which gives color and realism to the stories within the book. Readers can easily see the quizzical look Nonno gives when his family shows him a new dog. I commend whoever made these illustrations for a job well done.
I also liked that Matt included the struggles the family had. Even though this book is for a younger audience, Matt does not shy away from being honest. He learned from Nonno that taking care of a family was hard when they had very little money. Despite these struggles, his grandfather did not give up. Nonno could barely speak English, yet he was able to drive a delivery truck for his company. Sacrifice and love are evident each time a family story comes up.
I found nothing to dislike about the book. Matt shared his Italian heritage with us and told us about various foods the family liked to eat. I learned about fig trees and what is required to care for one. If I had to complain about anything, it would be the five grammatical errors I found. Even with these errors, I enjoyed my time reading Nonno, the Fig Tree, and Me.
This memoir deserves the highest rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It is a beautiful tribute to the author’s grandfather and teaches a great life lesson. I highly recommend this book to parents who want to teach their small children the importance of family. Infant baptism, Sunday church outings, and creationism are in this book. However, readers should not let these aspects bother them because the author does not force any beliefs onto others.
nonno, the fig tree,and me
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