cover image The Village of the Trees

The Village of the Trees

Naomi Lau. Wildberry Ink, $12.95 paper (28p) ISBN 978-0-9905915-6-6

In a modern-day parable about kindness and community, Roo, a woman “who build treehouses of splendor for her village,” is unwelcoming to a stranger looking for a refuge from the cold. After Roo’s village of tree houses burns down, she and her neighbors become homeless. Getting a taste of her own medicine, Roo visits neighboring villages seeking shelter, but is turned away each time: “We do not have enough space, even for us,” says one farmer. Once Roo finds a new grove of trees and embarks on a plan to rebuild, she revisits the villages; perhaps impressed by her enterprising spirit, they share supplies—blankets, yarn, corn, stones—to help in her endeavor. Lau’s earth-toned collages resemble cut-paper artwork, gaining depth from a variety of textural elements. The familiar notion that kindness begets kindness comes through clearly, and when Roo crosses paths with the original stranger again, her attitude has softened. Yet Lau also includes a subtle undercurrent about the importance of nurturing a broad sense of community through collaboration, compassion, and the sharing of resources. Ages 3–7. (BookLife)