A Tree's Tale

Lark Carrier, Author
Lark Carrier, Author Dial Books $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1202-7
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-8037-1203-4
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The long-lived tree as witness to history could almost be a subgenre in picture books, but Carrier (There Was a Hill...) gives this motif a twist--literally. As her story begins, Native Americans choose a sapling in a dense forest and train it to a bent position, so that it becomes a path-tree, or guidepost, along the forest trail. During the colonial period, the tree's distinctive horizontal trunk supports a child's rope-swing; later, it becomes a lookout perch for shipbuilders' children. Over the next 200 years, the tree survives the land's succession from forest to farmland, back to forest and then to contemporary residential development. Complementing misty, softly textured watercolors, Carrier's prose is quiet and finely crafted. For example, she likens the second-growth forest to ""a bear's thick winter coat, all new and shiny."" She stops just short of personifying the tree as she dramatizes its experiences. An endnote provides further information on path-trees, a few of which survive in the Great Lakes region. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
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