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LITTLE TREE by E.E. Cummings

LITTLE TREE

By E.E. Cummings (Author) , Chris Raschka (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0795-4
Publisher: Hyperion

The little fir tree goes to town: Cummings’s poem about a Christmas tree serves as the inspiration for a little story about a little fir tree who wants nothing so much as to find “a new life, his dream life, in a far, far away place.” The full poem appears on one page, to be followed by Raschka’s (Waffle, p. 504, etc.) narrative expansion upon it. In muted green-and-yellow illustrations reminiscent of Chagall stained-glass windows, readers see a small gent who looks a lot like Santa Claus. He loads the little tree onto a flatbed (we are spared the cutting-down) to take it to the city, where a “little boy, a little girl, a little mother and father and their little dog walked up and down the little streets of the little big city, looking and looking for their own special, just right, one and only, perfect little tree.” If the substance of the story comes from Cummings, its delivery comes straight from Margaret Wise Brown, with loads of repetition and an almost hypnotic rhythm. Hand-drawn panels are packed with detail in what seems to be an almost Cubist attempt to portray every aspect of the city in one fell swoop. The human figures are uncomplicated and childlike, befitting this simple, winning story about how this one little tree finds “his own special place in the world, a place that was waiting for him all his life.” (Picture book. 3-8)