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Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Forest Family Book Review

As springtime begins to show its glorious face, the Audrey Press Team is craving beautiful books that remind us of just how amazing nature is.

Written by Jan Hughes and Illustrated by Ruth Hengeveld, Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Forest Family, is one of those books.


A young tree learns that growth is a beautifully slow process that requires the help of her underground friends in this tale celebrating the magic of forest families.

Little Sap can\’t wait to grow tall and strong and touch the sky. But growing takes time. With protection and wisdom from Mother Tree, the tallest and wisest in the grove, and a helping hand from her fungi friends, Little Sap inches slowly toward the light.

\”In summer, the tall trees around her fill the sky with green.

Little Sap reaches as high as she can . . .

but she is still swallowed up by the shade.

Will she ever reach the light?\”


In this sweet story of a young tree through the seasons, we discover a wondrous community where humble fungi and majestic trees support one another to form a forest family. Complete with backmatter detailing the science behind this symbiosis, this is a tale of the wonders of family and interconnectedness.


This book is not only a gentle and lyrical story, the illustrations are simply breathtaking!  We also love that there is great information about how trees interact with their environment that is presented in a way that is very accessible for young children. We all agree that not only is Little Sap adorable, but all of their critter friends (especially the snail) will tug at your heartstrings and also make this story even more special.

We can see this book sparking many interesting conversations and encouraging kids to inquire further about the natural world. 


Jan Hughes is a longtime Bay Area editor and writer. This is her first, and hopefully not last, picture book. She lives with her husband and son in San Francisco and is passionate about all things trees.

Ruth Hengeveld is an illustrator and fine artist who lives in the Netherlands. She is an avid hiker, camper, and nature lover who spent time among the old-growth redwood forests of Northern California\’s Muir Woods in preparation for this book. She is the illustrator of Oh, Bear, also published by Cameron Kids.

Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Forest Family is available on in hardcover and Kindle formats.

Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Forest Family\

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