Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

by Uma Krishnaswami
     
 

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A young boy spots a baby tree growing in the middle of a dusty path in his village. He carefully places rocks around it as the local mango seller rushes past shouting, “Out of the way! Out of the way!” As the tree grows bigger, people and animals traverse the path until it becomes a lane, flowing like a river around the tree — getting out of its

Overview

A young boy spots a baby tree growing in the middle of a dusty path in his village. He carefully places rocks around it as the local mango seller rushes past shouting, “Out of the way! Out of the way!” As the tree grows bigger, people and animals traverse the path until it becomes a lane, flowing like a river around the tree — getting out of its way. Over time, the lane becomes a road, and a young man crossing the road with his children remembers the baby tree from long ago. By the time he is an old man, the tree has become a giant. The city traffic continues to rattle past, noisier and busier than ever, but sometimes the great tree works its magic, and people just stop, and listen.

In this simple, lyrical story, a wide-spreading tree and a busy road grow simultaneously, even as time passes and the footsteps of people and animals give way to speeding cars, buses and trucks. The illustrations, in pen-and-ink with vibrant blocks of color, have a classic folk-art feel.

The author and illustrator, who really do share the same name (except for the last letter!), have always wanted to do a book together.

For an author interview about Out of the Way! Out of the Way! go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXu36ODu8DQ&feature=player_embedded

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the outset of this lighthearted account of life in an Indian village, a boy carefully places rocks around a baby tree growing in the middle of a path. “Out of the way! Out of the way!” a mango seller yells. Before long, that cry has new meaning: the tree has grown so big that people must swerve to avoid it. Ox-carts give way to cars. Machines come to pave the road, “sputtering their way carefully around the tree.” Krishnaswamy’s (And Land Was Born) naïf, folk-art figures crowd the pages, selling things and carrying huge loads on their heads, while birds dart and cows wander along. Krishna-swami’s (The Grand Plan to Fix Everything) fanciful prose has an e.e. cummings feel (a crush of blobby vehicles goes “from here to there and back again”). The action can be hard to follow because it’s so diffuse; the boy grows from a young man into a silver-haired grandfather, but he is not always the focus of the story’s action. Still, it’s a rare thing: a book about generations and growth that doesn’t come across as preachy. Ages 4–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"The title, used very effectively as a refrain throughout the book, emphasizes that change is hurrying us along much faster than we want to go."—The New York Times

"…it's a rare thing: a book about generations and growth that doesn't come across as preachy."—Publishers Weekly

"A great book to use as a tie-in to environmental units as well as multicultural connections."—School Library Journal

"Groundwood adds yet another superior title to their long list of imaginative picture books. An accidental kind of learning occurs when reading Out of the Way! Out of the Way! — and isn't that the best kind?"—CM Magazine

"The message to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the tree) comes through effectively as spreads become more and more saturated with imagery that crowds out the white space."—Kirkus

"One day a boy spotted something small and green in the middle of the path.
'A baby tree,' he said.
He took some rocks and put them all around it.
'Hey, you,' called a mango seller, hurrying past. 'Out of the way, out of the way!'"
— from the book

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
One day a young boy sees something green in the middle of a busy village path. He puts rocks around it to protect the baby tree. "Out of the way!" is the shout which is repeated as the tree grows. A path is worn around it; various travelers pass it by. As the tree gets bigger, a pair of crows builds a nest there; squirrels and parakeets frolic above. The lane itself has to move out of the way of the tree. As the lane becomes a graded road, the tree becomes a meeting place for the community. The boy grows up and brings his children there. When they are grown and he is an old man, the tree is a giant, reminding everyone of the stories of long ago. Using mixed media, the illustrator shows the passing of time and the tree's growth with a blending of traditional Indian folk-art styles plus black line drawing and areas of flat color. Do not miss the drawings on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A boy finds a sapling on the dirt path that runs through his village in what appears to be India and protects it with a ring of stones. As the tree grows, villagers reroute the path around it, while bikers and oxcart and motor scooter drivers cry, "Out of the way! Out of the way!" The tree continues to grow, providing a home for animals and a meeting place for people beneath its branches. A city grows beyond the village, the dirt path becomes a paved road for cars and trucks, the boy becomes a man with his own children. Through the years, people learn to carry on their activities "out of the way" of the tree rather than sacrificing it to make way for themselves. They even take time, occasionally, from rushing "from here to there and back again" to sit under it and listen to the old stories. Krishnaswamy's charming folk-art illustrations, executed in mixed media, combine black-and-white drawings with blocks of color. Alert readers will notice that many of the orange outline drawings on the endpapers are echoed throughout the book, in color or in pen and ink. The road cuts through every page, either in a continuous stretch or as winding patches carrying people's footprints as they circumvent the tree. There is much to see and enjoy in the small paintings and drawings that make up each scene. This delightful story illustrates how tradition and modern progress can coexist in a way that benefits everyone.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A boy in India sees a baby tree growing by the side of a dusty path, and, because he protects it, it flourishes throughout his lifetime despite the changes to the landscape around him. Krishnaswami's spare text tracks the tree's growth over time, with the titular refrain "Out of the way! Out of the way!" giving voice to those who hurry past it. Mixed-media pictures inspired by India's arts-and-crafts tradition depict the path turning into a lane, then a street, then a road, signaling the rapid development that transforms the landscape from a quiet, sleepy village into a busy town. Meanwhile, the boy grows into a man, and the tree becomes a meeting place for local people. The message to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the tree) comes through effectively as spreads become more and more saturated with imagery that crowds out white space. Some readers may be unable to easily identify the boy who leads off the story from page to page, but the text seems less interested in following his character than on attending to the tree's particular role in providing a place of rest and beauty. And in that, it succeeds beautifully. A lovely, unique contribution. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554981304
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Pages:
28
Sales rank:
1,336,309
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Read an Excerpt

A dusty path ran through a village. People and animals walked up and down, going from here to there and back again. One day a boy spotted something small and green in the middle of the path.

“A baby tree,” he said.

He took some rocks and put them all around it.

“Hey, you,” called a mango seller, hurrying past. “Out of the way, out of the way!”

As the baby tree grew bigger, the feet of all the people going from here to there and back again wore the path into a curving lane.

“Hey, you!” cried the bullock-cart man, with his animals nodding their heads, one-two, one-two. “Out of the way! Out of the way!”

Meet the Author

Uma Krishnaswami’s inspiration for this book came from her memory of planting a mango seed as a child and seeing it grow into a tree, and also from a news story about people who planted trees in potholes. She has written many children’s books, from picture books to middle grade readers to retellings of classic tales and myths, including Bringing Asha Home (CCBC Choices), The Happiest Tree (Paterson Prize finalist, CCBC Choices, Bank Street College Best Books), Naming Maya (IRA Notable Books for a Global Society) and Chachaji’s Cup (Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Bank Street College Best Books). Her latest middle grade novel, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, published by Atheneum, received starred reviews in Kirkus and School Library Journal. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger. Krishnaswami was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico.

Uma Krishnaswamy divides her time between illustrating picture books and teaching art to young adults. She has illustrated many books, including A Dollop of Ghee and A Pot of Wisdom, Dancing on Walls and The Boastful Centipede and Other Creatures in Verse. She enjoys mixing styles of art from all over the world, but her main inspiration comes from the rich art and craft tradition of India. Her illustrations in Out of the Way! Out of the Way! are a blend of different folk styles. “I think the end result is a happy mix of black and white and colour, which reflects the beauty, chaos and confusion that is India,” Krishnaswamy says. She lives in Chennai, India.

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