Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Picture a Tree, written and illustrated by Barbara Reid. Scholastic, 2011. $19.99 ages 4 and up
"There are baby trees,
You may see the end of
one thing, or the start of
The delight on this young girl's face is evident for all to see! As she stands under the shade of the tree's dense leafy canopy, she is filled with joy...the joy that a tree brings in so many ways.
You cannot talk about Barbara Reid's books without awe at the incomparable illustrations that bring her stories to life. I had no idea how much I was looking forward to seeing something new from her! She never disappoints, and I will say that I think her work gets better every time she publishes a new book...is that even possible?
The brilliantly-colored, light-diffused cover is a perfect invitation to further investigation. Then, I couldn't get past the endpapers without a slow and deliberate look at each image. This sampler of what will follow offers trees seen at all times of the year, and a changing color palette which will evoke many memories for its readers. I felt the stories building as I passed from one small picture to the next.
I hadn't even moved to the distinctly resonant opening:
"There is more than one way to picture a tree."
So true! Barbara Reid moves her readers forward from page to page with beautifully detailed scenes from all seasons, settings, perspectives and moods. She dedicates the book to her dog, Ruby and we meet said dog on the title page, and I think we see her again on the tunnel of trees page...oh, and again later in the story, too. The high-rise home of the tree is mirrored in the high-rise apartments in the background, showing great diversity in both places. Oh, and then there is the 'Z & T CAFE', perhaps named for daughters Tara and Zoe. I will pore over its pages again and again, always discovering something I hadn't seen in earlier looks. I will continue to be awed by the lovely and thoughtful words Barbara Reid chooses to show her abiding love for nature, and trees in particular.