cover image Singing Fir Tree

Singing Fir Tree

Marti Stone. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22207-8

Stone's mild tale--her debut--preserves the ingenuousness of the Swiss folktale it retells. Longing to create a magnificent clock tower, Pierre the woodcarver covets the wood of a single fir tree high in the mountains. But the tree is home to a flock of birds, whose beautiful song brings constant joy to the villagers. Pierre tries various ruses to fell the tree, but each time the fir prevails, until Pierre at last realizes its incomparable worth as a living part of the forest. Settling for a few fallen branches, he carves melodious songbirds that delight the local children. Stone conveys a strong message about preservation, both of the environment and of tradition. Root's ( The Araboolies of Liberty Street ; Pumpkins ) illustrations of workshop, town and forest carry a genuine Old World flavor, but he has done better work, and his palette of dark greens and browns fails to give this book any special edge. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)