Button, Bucket, Sky

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Author, Vicki Jo Redenbaugh, Illustrator Carolrhoda Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57505-244-1
Several generations participate in the planting of trees in Martin's (Grandmother Bryant's Pocket) poetic, somewhat sugary story. Annie Livemore is an older woman who enjoys sitting under her big oak tree, the last in the neighborhood. One fall, the woman enlists the help of youngsters Harriet and Little Sam, to gather ""shiny brown buttons with oak tree songs inside."" Harriet Grace deems the buttons (or acorns) ""as beautiful as polished pianos."" In the spring, the trio plants them in a variety of recycled containers, including old soup bowls and berry buckets, and the following fall they set the seedlings, still in planters, into the ground. Finally, during the third spring, the gardeners plant their trees, which over the years grow into the sky--until Harriet and not-so-little Sam return with their own families to walk down Annie's road among the trees and pick up acorns. Pastel hues dominate Redenbaugh's (When I'm Alone) softly focused illustrations, which gently chronicle the change in seasons and the passage of years. Some young readers may find the tale's growing season a bit protracted. But its message is heartening, and those inspired by the characters' actions will welcome Martin's concluding instructions for growing their own oak trees. Ages 5-8. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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