cover image The Gumdrop Tree

The Gumdrop Tree

Elizabeth Spurr, Julia Gorton. Hyperion Books, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0008-7

Pictures of candies so perfectly smooth that they might tumble off the page add flavor to this otherwise slight tale. Expressing herself in mildly affected, Hemingway-esque declaratives, the narrator refuses to eat the bag of gumdrops her father has brought her (``They looked so sweet and good.... They would taste so sweet and good. But then they would be all gone''). She plants them instead, hoping that a tree bearing the chewy treats will sprout. A sapling does grow, its boughs laden with candy-however, the book's final illustration shows a tree hung with white strings, from which gumdrops dangle. (Children will wonder how and why any tree grew at all, if not from the buried treats.) The real interest here lies in debut illustrator Gorton's stylized art, an eccentrix mix of geometric shapes and almost Botero-like distortions, all airbrushed to a mechanical polish. Delicate shading takes the edge off the palette, which is dominated by strong aquas, mint-greens, yellows and reds. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)