I was really enjoying Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes until the end. This was when something felt “off” about the story. I am honestly not sure what it was, but a second reading might be needed to see what was missed. Otherwise, Jef Aerts created a very lovely story about two friends who must adapt their friendship in a special way when one moves. Text and illustrations by Sanne te Loo are lyrical and delightful. The art is deep, soft, rich and bold, and ties everything together in a lovely manner.
This story of two friends (Dina, a young girl and Adin, a young boy) is not new. Nor is the fact that one moves to the city. Perhaps it is slightly different with the fact it is his mother who wants a better/new job in the city, but still this theme of a “new/better job” is no new. What is slightly newer is the friends are not the same-sex (though that has been done before it is not the traditional) and there is a subtle element that the adult reader might notice: Dina’s family owns the farm. And she is a blond. Adin is darker skinned with he and his mother working the farm.
Overall this is a book that has an old-world feel to the story and the art. The art is worth the read as they are amazingly detailed, colored with bright colors that are also soothing. It has an almost “hazy look to them” without being blurry. The cherry blossoms blooming on the tree is very invigorating and calming. A slightly longer in length than traditionally seen in picture books, this might not be the best bedtime “all at once” read but would work for almost any reading situation.