This soulful and melancholy tale from Trottier is nevertheless light on its worldly feet. It is the story of a family settling on the great Canadian prairie: Mama, Papa, Emily, and baby Jack. As they make their mark on the homestead, and when a little extra cash is available, Papa lets Emily decide what to spend it on. A willow is ordered and planted; it measures their days as it grows, is head high when the children first go to school, offers shade when Jack goes off to war, and serves as sanctuary when the telegram arrives that tells them that Jack has died for his country. Life goes on for Emily. She inherits the farm, regales her grandchildren with stories of the early years, and as an old woman, dreams of seeing Jack in the distance and goes to join him. Handsome, moody illustrations give this story its strong sense of place and convey the coursing of time. But despite the lulling interludes, Trottier pulls no punches: Emily is not spared life's many stings, and readers will feel those stings, as well.