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Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Inside Tree, written by Linda Smith and illustrated by David Parkins. Harper, 2010. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Mr. Potter could not get that tree out of his mind. It nagged at him like
an itch that would not go away. Somehow, it didn't seem right that the tree
was never invited in or allowed to sit by the fire..."

Only a real softie would look outside, spot a lonely dog and decide to invite it inside to share warmth and company. The dog is delighted and soon asleep by the pot-belly stove. With the dog inside, the tree outside seems lonely. What's a man to do? Leave the tree alone in the cold, with no one to love it? Nope...a shovel, some hard work and a hole in the floor is the just the ticket. Now, the tree has a home and everyone is content.

Well, don't trees grow? Yes, it seems they do. Soon the tree is reaching for the outside light. A hole in the roof is helpful. After all, the birds can find their favorite branch and now the tree seems happy with its lot again. Oh, but what about the rain...and rain...and rain? The tree has taken over and Mr. Potter and his dog must find a new home. Luckily the barn is cozy and spacious and just the right place for a man and his grateful companion. Then Mr. Potter notices a very lonely looking cow! Oh, my! The dog has learned from experience and teaches Mr. Potter a lesson not to be forgotten.

What a fun readaloud! Kids will enjoy the wry humor, the bright and colorful illustrations and the dilemmas that keep finding a very kind and sympathetic Mr. Potter.

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