Beatrice Was a Tree

Joyce Hesselberth. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-274126-4
Beatrice, a pink-skinned child with faded indigo hair, conjures a verdant life in this faintly fantastical picture book by author-illustrator Hesselberth. Hanging upside down from a branch in a grove of trees, Beatrice frowns when an unidentified voice yells, “Beatrice, time for bed!” What follows is a seemingly Kafkaesque transformation as Beatrice’s arm stretches into a leafy branch, her face melds into bark, and she becomes a tall and bird-filled tree, then experiences the seasons. Beatrice’s narrative comprises descriptive prose and short sentences: “The air turned sweet and crisp./ Beatrice’s leaves put on a magic/ show as summer turned to fall.” Bright art done in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and digital collage beguilingly trace the girl’s change, as well as the tree’s seasonal transformations. A surprising ending rounds out this informative tale. Back matter includes tree facts. Ages 4–8. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/01/2021
Release date: 05/11/2021
Genre: Children's
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