cover image The Money Tree

The Money Tree

Sarah Stewart. Farrar Straus Giroux, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35014-7

From the window of her cozy farmhouse, Miss McGillicuddy notices ``an unusual shape'' poking through the snow. By spring it has grown into an oddly configured tree the branches of which are laden not with leaves but with dollar bills. Word of this extravagant foliage spreads fast and far, and all summer long the woman watches quietly as townsfolk and strangers greedily pick money from her tree. After its leaves drop to the ground and winter arrives once again, Miss McGillicuddy decides to chop down the tree, and she is left with something very valuable indeed: wood that will keep her warm during the coldest months. Though its message may be beyond the reach of some readers, Stewart's first book will raise worthwhile questions for both children and adults. Yet more exceptional than the story are Small's ( Paper John ) paintings. Often reminiscent of the art of Carl Larsson, these evocative, pastel-filled watercolors echo the hushed, mysterious tone of the tale. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)