Synopses & Reviews
Once there was a grand old tree, whose roots sank deep into the earth and whose arms reached high into the sky. Every spring the grand old tree flowered and bore cherries for the squirrels and birds that made their homes in her leafy branches. And every year, seeds from the tree scattered in the wind, along with many millions of leaves. Mary Newell DePalma creates an emotional tale of life and renewal, of nature's bounty and quiet balance, illustrated with simple images made powerful with vivid colors and moving compositions.
"With shades of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, yet devoid of human interference, DePalma's (My Chair) cycle-of-life tale will draw readers in with its breezy, whimsical illustrations and straightforward text. The chartreuse and kelly green tree at the center of the story moves through the seasons, bearing small red fruit and creating new life (e.g., 'She had many children. They changed the landscape for miles around'). The large-canopied matron also supports a host of birds, squirrels and ladybugs, whose wide-eyed expressions add a comical touch that will likely enhance the book's appeal to the younger set. In one spread, red and blue-spotted ladybugs surf, slide and hang glide using the tree's fuchsia and orange falling leaves. The stylized shapes of the watercolor and torn-paper art emanate a carefree, childlike feel, while a gentle but matter-of-fact narrative marches the tale forward. The tree comes to her end in a poignant couple of spreads. 'At last the grand old tree was very, very old. Her branches no longer swayed and danced.... Finally she fell, and snow gently covered her.' DePalma skillfully keeps the bleakness at bay by recounting what the dead tree continues to provide (shelter, enriched soil) and reminding readers that the tree's legacy lives on in her descendants. Older readers may recognize and appreciate the metaphor for all life. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"DePalma's delicate tissue-paper collage and watercolor illustrations (with miscellaneous fibers) are winningly simple and her big-eyed animals are sweetly comical....A winsome introduction to the cycles of life." Kirkus Reviews
"Neither sentimental nor unfeeling, this appealing picture book offers an appreciation of the cycle of life through a story that is accessible to young children." Booklist
"Perfect for story hour and for beginning readers, this book will make a grand addition to most collections." School Library Journal
About the Author
Mary Newell DePalma is an author and illustrator of childrens books. Before Mary was a children's book author and illustrator, she knitted designer sweaters, interpreted for the deaf, and painted signs. Some of her hobbies include gardening, knitting, reading, and, of course, drawing! She has illustrated MY CHAIR, A GRAND OLD TREE, and THE NUTCRACKER DOLL for Arthur A. Levine Books. Mary lives in Boston with her husband and two children.