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The Jesse Tree

( 2 )


"What are you doing, mister?" The old man ran a creased hand over his half-completed woodwork. "I'm carving a Jesse tree, if you must know. Now run along out of here. A church isn’t for playing in." "Is that your name, then? Jesse?" The carpenter was impatient to get back to work. "Of course not. A Jesse tree is a very ancient tradition. A thousand years ago, every church had a Jesse tree. A stained-glass window or a carved wooden screen . . . Nowadays, it’s a lost art."As Mr. Butterfield carves a Jesse Tree in an old dusty church, a curious ...
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The Jesse Tree

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"What are you doing, mister?" The old man ran a creased hand over his half-completed woodwork. "I'm carving a Jesse tree, if you must know. Now run along out of here. A church isn’t for playing in." "Is that your name, then? Jesse?" The carpenter was impatient to get back to work. "Of course not. A Jesse tree is a very ancient tradition. A thousand years ago, every church had a Jesse tree. A stained-glass window or a carved wooden screen . . . Nowadays, it’s a lost art."As Mr. Butterfield carves a Jesse Tree in an old dusty church, a curious young boy distracts him, asking about the various symbols on the tree. Against his better judgment, the old man finds himself retelling the familiar Biblical tales that trace the lineage of Christ, from the Garden of Eden to Jesus’ birth. Under the carpenter’s skilled hands, the Jesse tree grows — and an unlikely friendship begins to take root as well.Geraldine McCaughrean's fresh retellings of familiar Bible events and Bee Willey’s whimsical and striking illustrations create a rich and contemporary tale, perfect for reading during Advent or anytime.The Jesse Tree will captivate readers who know and love the Bible stories as well as those who are reading them for the first time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this finely crafted anthology, McCaughrean (Gilgamesh the Hero; God's Kingdom) weaves lively retellings of Bible stories into a clever overarching narrative framework that will keep readers hooked. An old carpenter has begun carving a traditional Jesse tree-its branches a collection of symbols that show the ancestors of Jesus Christ-for a local church. Much to the cranky man's chagrin, an inquisitive boy who seems to be vacationing nearby with his family routinely interrupts his work. Explaining the various symbols to the boy and telling the stories behind them becomes as much a part of the man's daily undertaking as carving the wood. But when the tree is complete and the boy suddenly stops coming around, the carpenter (and readers) wonder if the young visitor may well have been an angel of inspiration. McCaughrean's tales have a leisurely pace and accessible language and tone. Her consistent inclusion of realistic, sometimes-testy exchanges between the carpenter and boy adds a level of immediacy and keeps the collection compelling. Willey's (McCaughrean's collaborator on several Myths of the World books) dramatic spot art toggles between Biblical and modern scenes, emphasizing the colorful scope of the carpenter's project. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A boy on vacation asks for stories from a gruff old man carving a Jesse tree. Beginning with Jesse, the father of King David, stories related to the ancestry of Jesus are told, with the Christmas story as the climax. With each of the stories for the twenty-four days of Advent, a symbol is added to the Jesse tree by the old carver, who eventually becomes fond of the boy. The writing is contemporary, smooth, and filled with metaphor. In the story of King Saul's overthrow, when Jonathan was killed: "The cry that broke from David's throat was like a bell falling from its tower and breaking." In the Christmas story: "Shyly the shepherds explained themselves, twisting their fingers into nervous knots, apologizing. Then they knelt down, before their trembling knees could give way." Jesse trees were popular as storytelling devices during the Middle Ages. Though many were later destroyed or damaged, today the idea is being revived. The strange, wispy, colored pictures emphasize people's noses. This is a book for the church library and for parents and children to read at any time, but especially during Advent. 2005 (orig. 2003), Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Ages 5 to 12.
—Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
K Up-This collection of celebrated Bible stories, often read in the days leading up to Christmas, is presented in an engaging and refreshing format. A cantankerous carpenter is distracted from his work of carving a Jesse tree in the local church by a talkative youth who isn't bothered by the man's gruff nature. John is fascinated by the craftsman's task, wanting to learn all about the Jesse tree, a traditional symbol of the Advent season. Mr. Butterfield whittles away at the family tree that traces Jesus's spiritual lineage, adding representative icons corresponding to particular stories to each branch. The curious boy encourages the old gentleman to relate the series of stories leading from the Garden of Eden directly to the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem. Along with the holy family, many well-known Old Testament characters, including Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Ruth, David, and Elijah, appear in the carpenter's narration. The sacred stories are recited in the folksy speech expected of someone like Mr. Butterfield and are skillfully interwoven with the parallel tale of the blossoming friendship between the two unlikely companions. Charming illustrations of the narrator and his young friend, as well as biblical scenes, accompany the text. A spread showing the finished Jesse tree is featured at the beginning and end of the book. McCaughrean explains its origin in an introduction.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802854032
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/15/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 246,477
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Geraldine McCaughrean has written more than a hundred books for children, including the award-winning Gilgames the Hero (Eerdmans). In addition, she has won every major prize for children's literature in England, including the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Award, and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. Geraldine lives in England.

Bee Willey has worked in animation, advertising, and publishing. Her first love is book illustration—she has more than twenty children's book in print—which she now combines with teaching at several colleges of art. Bee lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014


    So yo gtgtjufrjufududjd

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Great Stories...

    My family enjoyed this book during this past advent. I was pleased to share with my kids, bible stories that I had forgotten about but heard growing up. The one thing that I wasn't too pleased with is that I had bought a Jesse Tree ornament set and unfortunately, half way through the the book, the items being carved into the Jesse tree in the book, did not correlate with my ornaments that I had purchased. Also, the stories can get confusing at times. I had to pause and let my children know when Mr. Butterfield was telling the story versus his conversation with John. Overall, the book was a great addition to our advent season.

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