The Searcher and Old Tree

( 1 )


After a long night of foraging, a tired raccoon returns home to sleep in Old Tree's branches. Oblivious to the rain and wind of a raging storm, the raccoon is protected and sheltered by the tree. Beloved author-illustrator David McPhail crafts a simple, yet powerful, allegory about the safety of home and the strength of unconditional love.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $3.67   
  • Used (3) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


After a long night of foraging, a tired raccoon returns home to sleep in Old Tree's branches. Oblivious to the rain and wind of a raging storm, the raccoon is protected and sheltered by the tree. Beloved author-illustrator David McPhail crafts a simple, yet powerful, allegory about the safety of home and the strength of unconditional love.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In characteristically accomplished pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations and a heavily metaphorical text, McPhail (Sylvie & True) relates a tale about feeling safe and protected, no matter what. Searcher, a raccoon, makes his home in Old Tree, whose trunk is distinguished by eyes, nose and mouth. Vignettes show Searcher scavenging for food at night, then ambling back to Old Tree at dawn, falling asleep just before a terrible storm wreaks its havoc: "The wind shrieks. The waves explode. Old Tree holds firm. The Searcher sleeps on." McPhail's art gradually expands to fill the entire spread to show the storm at its worst, then recedes back to vignettes as "the wind and waves relent" and the Searcher wakes up and goes forth for the evening, oblivious to the past day's tempest until he notices the wetness of the grass and the presence of broken branches; when he turns back to look at his sanctuary, Old Tree "waves" to him comfortingly. Developmentally, this story seems a little off-base; kids might not want to identify with a protagonist who snoozes through the most exciting, if scary part of the story; and, ironically, they might find the while-you-were-sleeping problem-solving more disconcerting than reassuring. Ages 3-6. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The Searcher is a raccoon who leaves his home in Old Tree every night to find his food and returns at dawn to sleep. One day, while he sleeps, a storm blows in, whipping up the nearby waves around the tree and almost pulling the tree up by its roots. The Searcher manages to sleep through the terrible storm. By evening, all is calm again. Hunger wakes him. As he sets out for food, he notices the debris from the storm. But he is confident that Old Tree will be there when he returns. This reassuring visual allegory offers a hint on the cover, where we perceive a human face emerging from the massive trunk of Old Tree. The story itself begins on the two pages before the title page, where it follows The Searcher's descent from his perch in the tree and his raid of a garbage can. Then the text starts its almost redundant recitation of his post-dinner return to Old Tree. McPhail's ink drawings tell the visual tale, while his watercolors supply the emotional drive, from soft pale pinks and greens to angry dark purple clouds and aggressive rows of curling waves. Then we return to blue skies and placid waters. The Searcher is a naturalistic, but appealing and believable animal. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-K- After a successful night of foraging, a raccoon called Searcher heads home to a tree that sits on the edge of a large body of water. As dawn approaches, he snuggles down into the branches and falls asleep. A storm comes up, thunder and lightning crash about, and giant waves pound the shore. The raccoon does not wake up. As the storm becomes more and more intense, Old Tree looks less and less significant against the roiling sky and huge, pounding waves. It bends and twists, but the raccoon sleeps on. As evening approaches, the storm ebbs and things calm down. Searcher awakens and is surprised by the wet grass and scattered debris. But the old tree is still standing, and as the animal heads out for another night of foraging, the two wave to one another. The economical text has a soothing cadence. McPhail's textured pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations depict an endearing, contented raccoon and an anthropomorphized tree framed by white backgrounds. The raging storm at its peak is shown to good effect on two full spreads. In this book, home is clearly the best place to be during a storm, and this brief tale may offer comfort to children.-Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A little raccoon sleeps through a fierce storm in his favorite tree. The Searcher ferrets for food all night and at dawn heads back to his home in the branches of sturdy Old Tree where he comfortably settles for a day of deep sleep. While the Searcher sleeps, a coastal storm brews with blowing wind and lashing waves. As the storm builds, wind rips Old Tree's branches, bends his trunk and tries to pull out his roots. All day the storm rages, Old Tree holds fast and the Searcher sleeps on unaware. By evening, the storm retreats and the Searcher wakes up refreshed. As the Searcher climbs out of Old Tree to begin his evening forage, he's amazed to see Old Tree's broken branches and leaves lying in the wet grass. The atmospheric pen, ink and watercolor illustrations convey the storm's elemental intensity, Old Tree's gallant struggle to survive and the Searcher's total oblivion. Careful readers will discover Old Tree's anthropomorphic face protectively watching over the Searcher in this allegorical tribute to the importance of having a safe place. (Picture book. 3-6)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892247
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,030,904
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David McPhail is the acclaimed author of more than 150 books, including the much-adored Pig Pig series, THE SEARCHER AND OLD TREE, and HENRY BEAR'S PARK. David lives in Rye, New Hampshire.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & 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 & 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 & 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 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 & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & 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 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
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2009


    this is a great book for the family!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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