Review: Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid

picture a tree

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid

How do you picture a tree?  Do you see a drawing on the sky?  A tunnel?  An ocean?  A sun umbrella to stop on your hot walk home?  What do you see?  These are just some of the ideas that Reid puts forward in her picture book that pays homage to trees and their ever-changing beauty.  Starting with the spring and moving through all of the seasons, this book will have you looking into the trees around you and noticing them even more.

Reid’s text here is simple but very effective.  She gets you dreaming of your own answers and also seeing trees from all angles and all seasons.  The true focus here though is her art.  Done entirely in Plasticine clay, they have a wonderful three-dimensional quality to them and are anything but simple.  In fact, the detail is amazing and will keep readers gazing long after they complete the words on the page.

An awesome addition to any Arbor Day, Earth Day, tree-related or seasonal story time or unit, this book should inspire all of us to wonder about trees.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

You can also see the trailer for the book for a glimpse of Reid’s art and words:

Review: Gandhi by Alice B. McGinty


Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

This nonfiction picture book focuses on Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea in 1930.  Joined by over 70 others, this was a nonviolent protest of British rule of India and the taxes they had levied on salt.  Told in verse, this picture book explores how the march united the different faiths and castes of India into a common cause.  The book and journey ends with Gandhi scooping salt from the sea, inspiring many others to do the same.  Many were imprisoned for their actions, but they proved too numerous for the prison system and had to be released.  This is a profound and impressive look at a nonviolent action that was noticed around the world and still serves as inspiration today.

McGinty’s verse is free and flowing.  She nicely integrates imagery that is moving and speaks volumes about the situation.  Just one line from when Gandhi reaches the sea: “white salt dusting dark sand.”  McGinty also weaves in the way that Gandhi inspired others to spin their own thread rather than relying on British cloth, how he prayed together with all faiths, truly how he created a single community out of so many different ones.

The illustrations by Gonzalez are exquisite.  His paintings capture the stones on the path, the crowds that gathered, and finally Gandhi by the sea, alone and strong.  All of the images show a man of strength of conviction and a spirit that was unfailing.  They are stunningly evocative of the man and his mission.

This is a top-notch picture book that truly conveys the difference one man can make in the world being nonviolent.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from library copy.