The Inside Tree by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Parkins
Mr. Potter’s life was just right. His house was just the right size for him and his teapot. His yard had a single tree where birds swooped and under which his dog slept. But then he looked out his window and noticed that the dog would be more comfortable inside by the fire. So he brought the dog in. However, now the tree was alone outside in the dark. There was only one thing to do: bring the tree inside! So Mr. Potter dug up the tree, wrestled it inside, and dug a hole through his floorboards for the tree roots. All was fine until the tree needed more room. Mr. Potter cut a hole in the ceiling and in came birds and the rain. His home was very little cozy inside and mostly outside. So Mr. Potter moved to the barn with his teapot, fireplace and dog. That is, until he saw a lonely cow outside in the dark…
For all of us who fill our homes with plants, this book takes it to the extreme. Smith’s writing offers the lilt of a storyteller, filled with just the right amount of rhythm. She enjoys breaking sentences over a page turn, increasing the tension just that tiny bit. It works very well in this humorous tale. Parkins’ art is filled with great contrasts. We have the perfect image of the small house in an idyllic setting. Then there is the yellow and orange warmth of Mr. Potter’s clothing next to the fireside contrasted against the cool evening colors of the lonely dog and tree outside the window. His use of small details adds to the warm feel of the home. This is used again in the barn where Mr. Potter eventually moves.
A unique book about trees and people, this is ideal for Arbor Day and Earth Day and will lend a hearty laugh to any collection of tree stories. This is one to bark about, make sure not to leaf it too long. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.