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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Kai: The Loneliest Palm Tree by Cindi Handley Goodeaux is a beautifully illustrated and gentle story about friendship. Kai is all alone on her tropical island. She spends her days watching the ocean and her nights wishing on the stars. Her wish is for a friend to share her beautiful island with her. She has some visitors, both human and animal, but they never stay long. Even though she is lonely, she still appreciates her wonderful life. Kai shares the story of how she came to live on the island. Will Kai ever have her wish come true or will she continue to live on her island alone?
Kai is a tender, sweet story. Cindi Handley Goodeaux does well in balancing the two emotions that Kai feels. She is lonely but she still recognizes that her life is terrific. Kids will enjoy repeating the refrain "because life is a wonderful thing." This is a positive mantra for kids to internalize. Goodeaux also introduces some interesting facts about the natural world into her tale. The illustrations by Jack Foster are exquisite. Kai has so much personality with her big eyes in the middle of her trunk, a lei around her neck, and a flower in her hair. The rich saturated colors make you feel like you are on a tropical island. The lyrical quality of Goodeaux's story makes it a perfect fit for bedtime. The gently flowing rhythms will soothe kids and adults alike and will carry you away to a calm, joyful place.