Many people have a hard time understanding why some adults love children's literature. Why would a grownup like to look at picture books, which are childish and surely too simple for an adult reader?
It is true that some picture books have a simple story line, one that caters just for children, but there are others that present readers with a bigpicture concept, a story that explores a universal principal that will resonate with readers of all ages.
Today's picture book is just such a title, and it is one that I have put on my to-look-at-again-and-again shelf. It is book that is beautiful on many levels.
Tree: A little story about big things
Illustrated by Matt Ottley
For ages 5 and up
Little Hare, 2012, 9781742978604
A little seed lands in the shelter of a big tree’s curved roots, and there it germinates and sprouts. Though it is “delicate and frail” the little tree begins to grow. Sheltered by its large and strong neighbor from the baking sun, heavy rains and snow, the little tree flourishes. And then, one night, a terrible storm blows through, and though it has withstood many a storm before, this time the older tree, the little tree’s protector, is not able to withstand the ferocity of the wind, rain and lightning.
When the “uproar and confusion” passes, and the quiet returns, something is different in the little tree’s world. Its protector is gone. Big machines rumble and roar around the little tree and it is left to struggle in a wasteland without any other tree around or near it.Loss and change can be devastating, whether you are a tree or an animal or a person. With minimal text and incredibly beautiful illustrations the author and illustrator of this remarkable picture book helps readers to see the cycle of life, death and renewal in a powerful and life-affirming way. We see how the older generation protects the younger until the younger has to stand on its own and face what life sends its way.