Tag Archives: stewardship

A Tree Is Nice by Janice Udry

7 Feb

The simplicity of Janice Udry’s story published in 1956, should not be considered irrelevant for today’s young reader. This story captures  many wonderful things about trees and does so in a way kids know and recognize. For most adults, the story is not immediately seen, but to a young reader the story is known–trees are amazing things and we are surrounded by them. Udry portrays trees as things to play on, things we grow, things that have limbs and trunks, and things that whisper. It is a simple, well-written book easily understood by young readers. Marc Simont’s watercolor sketches highlight the narrative and do so with vivid, bold colors alternating with muted colors from page to page.

Book Cover

This book was awarded the Caldecott in 1957 and the illustrations are still loved by children today.

Insight:

Many authors that write books these days always seem to want their books to convey some deep, symbolic meaning or grapple a controversial issue. This book–not so much. It is a quiet and simple book for young readers with the apt title, “A Tree Is Nice.” Children today are always wanting to be entertained through video games, t.v., music or some electronic device that does nothing for the imagination. This book has a distinct quietness, with its beautiful illustrations and simple message of appreciating and admiring things in life for their simple beauty. This story with its simple text and beautiful illustrations is one of my favorite stories. No hidden messages– just a good solid read.

Suggested Library Activity:

After taking students on a walk outside, let them create their own trees using watercolors and various media. A book of different leaf rubbings is another activity students can do.

Bibliographic Citation:

Udry, J. (1956). A tree is nice. New York: Harper & Brothers.


Additional Book Review:

A Tree is nice seems rather too plain for a title for children. Nothing fancy or funny. But its this quality that’s held in all earnestness up until the end that also makes the book enjoyable, without laboring to interpret or analyze.

The book is a Caldecott winner and this calls for dissecting the illustration. Color and black-and-whites alternate; ink drawings draped in gray, follow and precede beautiful watercolors. Especially the watercolors, they glorify the foliage in varying seasons with splurges of warm greens, sometimes with flaming reds and bright yellows in their midst. The book is 11×7 inches in size. This allows for generous detailing of the trunks and twisted branches in varying dimensions, in browns that remind us of barks of dark chocolate. Something about the book gives us that warmth – the thick dirty white paper with rawness resembling recycled material, and the uncomplicated content of the drawings and writing, I think. The fact that is was published in 1956 connects the dots.

Book Review A Tree Is Nice.  (2011, April 22). Message retrieved from http://www.saffrontree.org/2011/04/tree-is-nice.html

Publishers Weekly (June 12, 1987)

The Caldecott award-winning book that speaks simply and elegantly of the many pleasures a tree provides. Ages 4-8. (June)


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Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

7 Feb

Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius takes the reader on a journey through the life of Miss Rumphius also known as ” the lupine lady.” Miss Rumphius sets out to do things in her life, like going on a faraway journey to a tropical place or scattering lupines throughout the countryside. Miss Rumphius tells a tale that both the young and old can identify with. This story seems suited to older primary students, second to fifth grades, and gives the reader insight on growing old and the importance of setting your sights high and just plain following your heart. Cooney’s illustrations are brilliantly simple,painted in acrylics and emphasized with prisma-colors, the people are stylized and the pictures lend vitality to the narrative. This book could be used as an introduction to a myriad of lessons from writing to stewardship. It is certainly one to consider adding to your primary collection.

Book Cover

Insight:

As a young child I envisioned all people as caretakers of the Earth. Getting older you see how people throw trash out their car windows, dump oil in to streams and many more unmentionable unkind acts towards mother Earth. This book reminded me that not all is lost. There is still hope and it can begin with one person- a Miss Rumphius if you will. We need many more Miss Rumphius’ , so read this book and share the importance of being good stewards of our planet with young readers.

Suggested Library Activity:

Use this book to teach a lesson on why we must take care of our environment. What Miss Rumphius do to make the world a beautiful place? What could you do? Have children create poster-collages (use recycled paper and materials) that illustrate and convey how they would keep the world beautiful.

Bibliographic Citation:

Cooney, B. (1982). Miss rumphius. New York: Viking Press.


Additional Book Review:

Miss Rumphius has a deep desire to leave the world more beautiful than she found it, an idea planted years earlier by her grandfather. She does what she can, spreading lupine seeds that grow in colorful splendor. Cooney delivers a strong message of our obligation to care for the environment. Video & audio avail. from Weston Woods.

Bock, L. (2003, February 1). Moral and Ethical Concepts [ Book review of Miss Rumphius]. School Library Online. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA272674.html