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THE GROWING-UP TREE by Vera Rosenberry


by Vera Rosenberry & illustrated by Vera Rosenberry

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2003
ISBN: 0-8234-1718-2
Publisher: Holiday House

In this Giving Tree–like parable, infant Alfred and his mother seem to float in a sort of fecund and fantastic Eden, rife with less-than-subtle and sometimes disconcerting symbols of fertility. Here, Eve-like, mother tastes the apple that starts it all. The heavy-handed offering features the gouache palette we expect from Rosenberry, bespattered to create textured backgrounds of intense blue and green. Against this, birds and bees frolic, vegetation abounds, and both Alfred and his apple tree mature towards their oh-so-predictable demise. The illustrative distortion and exaggeration that are Rosenberry’s trademark, and that in other works seem so winsome, are somehow disturbing here. In particular, children may find the haloed deathbed scene abrupt and upsetting, and ominous, carrion-seeking crows may give them a fright. The lackluster text does little to ameliorate the rather overpowering pictures. Unsettling. (Picture book. 3-6)