A man in the 1800s comes upon a beautiful forest and decides to build his home there. When he clears the land, he leaves one special tree to grace his front yard. Over the years, several generations of his family enjoy this tree, but it is endangered by a plan to build a highway. A young boy and his host of animal friends get together to make a stand, and give back to the tree which has given them so much.

With lavish illustrations and very few words, David McPhail delivers a ...

See more details below

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (NOOK Kids - First Edition)
BN.com price


A man in the 1800s comes upon a beautiful forest and decides to build his home there. When he clears the land, he leaves one special tree to grace his front yard. Over the years, several generations of his family enjoy this tree, but it is endangered by a plan to build a highway. A young boy and his host of animal friends get together to make a stand, and give back to the tree which has given them so much.

With lavish illustrations and very few words, David McPhail delivers a timeless environmental message and a heartwarming story for ages 4 to 8.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The continuity of family and nature and the power of a single voice resonate in McPhail’s (The Abandoned Lighthouse) thoughtful fable. Riding in a covered wagon, a man arrives in the wilderness “to start a new life.” He chops down trees to create pastures for his animals, fields for his crops, and logs for his house, but he leaves one tree standing to provide shade in summer and act as a buffer against winter winds. McPhail’s understated, homespun watercolor-and-ink illustrations effectively portray the passage of time, as cars replace horses on the road near the tree. The day finally comes when workers arrive to widen the road—and fell the tree. The original settler’s great-great-grandson, a small boy in overalls, resolutely stands in front of the tree in protest: “Not this tree.” Soon, the boy is joined by a bevy of forest animals; together they stare down the workers, who relent and reroute the road around the tree. A sentimental but inspirational tale. Ages 4–8. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"...stunning..."—School Library Journal

"...[a] gently observed tale..."— Booklist


"...[an] inspirational tale."—Publishers Weekly


Praise for Mole Music:


“McPhail’s . . . paintings work seamlessly in tandem with the words to deliver a truly resonant message: . . . music can change the world.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


“The beloved Mole will easily win the affections of readers and inspire young hopes for a better world.” —Kirkus Reviews, pointer review


Praise for The Teddy Bear:


“McPhail’s beautiful soft-toned watercolor pictures with detailed ink cross-hatching tell the elemental story of shelter and love through the child’s eyes.” —Booklist, starred review


“[McPhail] invests his pen-and-watercolor illustrations with affection and warmth, and his expert use of soft shading and cross-hatching creates a welcoming world readers will want to inhabit.” —Publishers Weekly


“A sweet and gentle blend of favorite and important topics will make this a treasure of a book to be read, reread, and shared.” —School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The story begins several generations in the past when a young man heads out into the wilderness to claim and clear land to build his house and farm. There is one tree that he leaves next to the house which will provide shade in the summer and block the cold winds of winter. Once the house and fences are built, he brings his wife to the homestead and soon they had a child. In addition, other people arrived and now they had neighbors. The young boy grew up and took over the farm from his father and so it went until the great-great-grandson of the first settler was the one on the farm. The tree has been there all the time and witnessed all that has taken place. Disaster is about to strike as workers arrive to widen the road. The boy protests and many of the forest animals come to his aid, so the engineers redesigned the road around the tree and life remained pretty much the same for the tree and the boy. The story—while fanciful, since it is unlikely that a young boy could stop a highway—is beautifully and meticulously illustrated in pen and ink by McPhail. Young children will root for the boy and be delighted at the happy ending. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—Visually told through priceless, historically revealing watercolor and ink illustrations, and voiced with succinct sentences and brief speech bubbles, this picture book chronicles five generations and their "family tree." The title-page illustration depicts an aerial view of a covered wagon entering a forest of dense treetops. Therein, a pioneer stops and starts chopping trees to create a clearing. But he stops, and ponders, "Hmm…not this one." He leaves one tree standing to "provide shade for this house during the long hot summers and act as a buffer against chilly winter winds." Others he uses to make planks, boards, beams, fences, posts, and rails. His oxen help him raise his house. "New generations join the family. Old ones left." Roads are being widened, and workers come to say, "The tree [is] in the way." The great-great-grandson stands in front of it in protest. A bird call goes out, and all the animals that live there join the effort. In what is a true illustrative tour de force, with superb pacing, children see the results of the workers' huddle to find a solution. Pair this stunning book with Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House (Hougton Mifflin, 1942) and Bonnie Pryor's The House on Maple Street (Morrow, 1987) for an eye-opening program on change and ecological awareness.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
The love of an ancient tree leads a boy to unlikely activism. When the pioneers cleared the land to settle the western wilderness, one young man decided to leave one special tree standing to shade his new home. The years go by, and the land is further developed, but the tree remains, until a proposed highway threatens it. The great-grandson of the original settler calls on animals to help save the tree. Young environmentalists will cheer when the tree is saved, and they will enjoy the family story. McPhail's familiar watercolor-and-ink spreads capture the bucolic setting, especially effective when showing the wide swath of cleared land while the oxen are helping to build the house. Right from the start, though, the tone of the book is muddled by confusing and redundant graphic elements. Speech bubbles seem oddly out of place in the 1800s, especially when the main character is speaking to no one and the narration is clear and complete. The final illustration shows the boy, triumphantly swinging from his beloved tree--but the proximity of the new highway and the vehicular traffic makes this victory seem hollow at best. The graveyard at the right edge seems to indicate the fight against progress may be futile. Classes studying ecology and activism might find something to discuss here. Good intentions; confusing execution. (Picture book. 5-8)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466808843
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 16 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

David McPhail is the author of many books for children, including Mole Music, The Teddy Bear, and the popular Pig Pig stories. He lives with his family in Rye, New Hampshire.

David McPhail published his first children's book, The Bear's Toothache, in 1972. Since then, he has written and/or illustrated more than fifty books including No! and The Abandoned Lighthouse, published by Roaring Brook Press. He lives in New Hampshire.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)