cover image Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

Ruskin Bond. Boyds Mills Press, $14.95 (31pp) ISBN 978-1-878093-21-9

First published in Highlights , this gentle story of a girl in Northern India who grows a cherry tree from seed abounds with quiet wisdom and love of life. Bond's warm text is sympathetic to Rakhi's hopes and fears as she tends her tree, and poetic in its rendering--``Come back when you're a butterfly'' she says to a hungry caterpillar. Time passes, the tree grows until it produces flowers and fruit, and the girl becomes a woman. Eitzen's atmospheric artwork eloquently portrays the unusual setting, while his choices of moments and details are often singular: the wheels of a runaway cart skim across a page; strange creatures whirl out of Grandfather's nighttime tales. A minor cavil: the last page seems tacked on; the penultimate spread in itself makes a more touching closure--contemplating her full-blown tree, `` `How it changed,' she said. `Just like you,' smiled Grandfather.'' Appealingly simple in its treatment of faith, this beguiling picture book may well produce many young arborists. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)