Friday, April 22, 2011
Title: A Tree is nice
Author: Janice May Udry
Illustration: Marc Simont
Age Group: 4-8
Picture : Wikipedia
A Tree is nice seems rather too plain for a title for children. Nothing fancy or funny. But its this quality that's held in all earnestness up until the end that also makes the book enjoyable, without laboring to interpret or analyze.
The book is a Caldecott winner and this calls for dissecting the illustration. Color and black-and-whites alternate; ink drawings draped in gray, follow and precede beautiful watercolors. Especially the watercolors, they glorify the foliage in varying seasons with splurges of warm greens, sometimes with flaming reds and bright yellows in their midst. The book is 11x7 inches in size. This allows for generous detailing of the trunks and twisted branches in varying dimensions, in browns that remind us of barks of dark chocolate. Something about the book gives us that warmth - the thick dirty white paper with rawness resembling recycled material, and the uncomplicated content of the drawings and writing, I think. The fact that is was published in 1956 connects the dots.
Trees are very nice. They fill up the sky.
Every detail about a tree that might seem insignificant or intuitive to the adult fills up the pages alongside illustration that obediently portrays the discussed detail. The text will suit a read-aloud to the little ones, without fuss or frolic. The writing will also make it an encouraging experience for an early reader.
Even if you have just one tree, it is nice too.
Perfect for a swing, a playhouse, as a pirate ship, for nests, for shade, for picnics, or to even rest a hoe - gathering and presenting the obvious truths in succession makes my preschooler nod mirthfully with a new found appreciation for something taken granted. He sometimes pauses his play in the backyard to enlist nice things about a tree, with confidence and care.
A tree is nice to plant......
You say to people, "I planted that tree."
They wish they had one so they go home and plant a tree too.
Without much ado, we celebrate our planet that bears the trees.