Title: The Tree: A Fable
Author and Illustrator: Neal Layton
Publisher: Candlewick Press (978-0-7636-8952-0, February 7, 2017)
Suitable for ages: 2—5
No. Pages: 40
Theme/Topics: ecology, environment, individual responsibility, animals, fables
Opening Spread: “A tree, a birds’ nest, a squirrels’ nest, an owls’ hollow, and a rabbits’ burrow.”
“For the rabbits, birds, and squirrels, the tree is home. But when two new arrivals show up to create their dream house, the tree is in jeopardy.
“What will it mean for the animal families if their tree is cut down? With empathy and imagination, Neal Layton offers a hopeful outlook in this simple and powerful fable about the harmony of the natural world.”
Why I Like This Book
The first thing readers see is a mountain region with a little mesa on which grows a tall, partially bare tree. Next to the tree is a sign. What stands out are the gorgeous mountains and sky, all a wash of blues, greens, purples, and white. It’s a stunning pre-title page. This huge tree actually looks like a small tree boosted into the sky by a tree-like pole. High on a green branch, a nest of blue birds sing. A bit lower, the squirrel family gathers. Lower still, a family of owls poke out. Not seen, but Layton shows us, are rabbits in their burrows, nestled with the tree’s roots underground.
A truck, of all things, interrupts this peaceful, serene scene. It’s obvious from the contents of the truck, this man is there to build a house. It’s a beautiful, spacious house, perfect for a growing family. Or it will be, once the tree is gone. The saw’s vibrations knock the birds’ nest to the ground. The babies squawk. The woman sheds a tear. Then the pair return to building their dream house.
There is a television show about a small construction company that builds treehouses. The finished treehouse can be the main house treehouse, a guest treehouse, a fun treehouse, or a work-at-home treehouse. No matter what it is, the treehouse is imaginative, sometimes a little strange, always fun, and built to last. I love this show. If Neal Layton has seen this show, I’d bet he likes it, too.
The Tree has imagination. The couple changes their blueprints to create a new, ecologically sound house taking all the animals living in the tree into account. No one loses their home, and they might get a better version. Everyone lives in peace and harmony. Layton’s pen and wash illustrations are frame-worthy.
Website devoted to kids and the ecology: http://kids.nceas.ucsb.edu/ecology/ecoindex.html
Earth Day (April 22, 2017) Official Website: http://www.earthday.org/
Here are Several Interesting Treehouses (not just for kids)
For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.
THE TREE: A FABLE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2017 by Neal Layton. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
Add The Tree: A Fable to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Reprinted with permission from THE TREE: A FABLE © 2017 by Neal Layton, Candlewick Press. Illustrations © 2017 by Neal Layton.
Here is a review written for the New York Journal of Books. It is a nonfiction Perfect Picture Book maybe-was-a-Friday.
Whose Poop Is That?
Written by Darren Lunde
Illustrated by Kelsey Oseid.
40 pages Age 3—7
Theme/Topics: scat, animals, science, health, investigations
A Whose Poop is That? to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
The review is published on the New York Journal of Books website. You can find it HERE.
This year’s schedule includes reviews and other posts Monday through Friday, baring any intrusions. There are no double-review days planned, “Yeah!” Have a wonderfully warm weekend!
Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved