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SOLOMON’S TREE by Andrea Spalding


by Andrea Spalding & illustrated by Janet Wilson

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-55143-217-X
Publisher: Orca

Many Cedar trees surround Solomon’s house, but it’s the maple tree that he climbs each day and it’s the maple tree that hears his secrets and thoughts. So when the huge maple tree is pulled from the ground in a terrible storm, Solomon is devastated. Solomon’s uncle helps him create a mask from the fallen timber, asking him questions about the tree and what it had shown him (a hummingbird’s nest), how it smelled (like sap and crushed leaves), and what it had whispered in his ear (secrets and nightly lullabies). Finally, the mask is finished, a hummingbird graces its forehead and the cycle of comforting friendship continues. (“ ‘Hello, tree,’ whispered Solomon. ‘Hello, Solomon,’ the mask whispered back.”) The work of a Tsimpshian master-carver, Victor Reece, inspired the story and became the basis for the detailed illustrations showing the steps in the mask’s creation. Full-bleed oils in an autumn palette face simpler pages of text framed in vignettes above and a strip panel of Raven, the trickster and storyteller, below. An afterword explains the symbolism in the illustrations. Spalding and Wilson both live in the northwest, where this gentle story of love and respect for nature is set. They have collaborated on two other works; this is perhaps the most successful. (Picture book. 4-9)