Sketches From a Spy Tree

Sketches From a Spy Tree

by Andrew Glass, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
     
 

Perched in the branches of her favorite tree with her sketchbook, Anne-Marie watches the world go by. While recording her observations of neighbors, friends, and family, she thinks about her father, who left two years before; about Mike, who seems to be trying to take his place; about her twin sister, Mary Anne, who looks like her (at least to adults) but sees

Overview

Perched in the branches of her favorite tree with her sketchbook, Anne-Marie watches the world go by. While recording her observations of neighbors, friends, and family, she thinks about her father, who left two years before; about Mike, who seems to be trying to take his place; about her twin sister, Mary Anne, who looks like her (at least to adults) but sees things very differently. Poems in Anne-Marie’s voice, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, and always honest, take readers through a year of change in the life of a family and in Anne-Marie’s heart. Illustrations that include paintings, drawings, and collage capture the text’s emotional range and Anne-Marie’s own artistic vision.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A series of remarkably candid poems...remarkable watercolors, sketches, photographs, and collages bring Anne Marie's experiences to life." SLJ School Library Journal

"An unusually fresh approach to illustration...uses free verse and freewheeling art with distinction." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA

"Of special interest to readers who may themselves be facing a shift in family structure." Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews

"The enticing layout and friendly text will invite exploration from poetic young readers." THE BULLETIN Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-In a series of remarkably candid poems, Anne Marie tells the story of her family's transition from disarray and grief to hope. In "Family Portrait," she digs out an old family photograph and angrily "cut[s] Dad out/with five quick snips/crumple[s] his face/like an empty gum wrapper,/which is just what he deserves/for leaving/`my four girls'/two years ago today." The young narrator's poems reflect on her neighborhood, family, and friends, often from the security of her spy tree. There, she and her twin sister share a branch and sometimes different perspectives, particularly about their new stepfather: "`Maybe/you could take/a chance on Mike, too./He wasn't the one/who ditched us,/you know.'" The writing is lyrical yet fresh, as in this description of the cat lady who feeds cats "out of her spotted hands,/a quilt of cats/folded around her legs." Glass's remarkable watercolors, sketches, photographs, and collages bring Anne Marie's experiences to life. With each turn of the page, readers encounter delightfully energized illustrations that complement the subject and mood of each poem well. Similar in tone and subject to Vera B. Williams's Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart (Greenwillow, 2001), this book would be a valuable addition to most collections.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers are never told why Dad-cut from a photo "with five quick snips / crumple his face / like an empty gum wrapper, / which is just what he deserves"-left his family two years before, but his departure seems to spur 11-year-old Anne Marie's sometimes-angry musings. These are balanced by twists on being a twin, devotions to her much-loved mother, and descriptions of the everyday: laundry lines, quirky neighbors, a majestic maple tree. This is a scrapbook/sketchbook of the world according to Anne Marie, and of her struggle to make some sense of changes in her family and in herself, concluding with a hard-won acceptance of a new dad and a new baby sister. Glass's multimedia illustrations, which are executed in paint, photo- and cut-paper collage and pencil, are as varied as Anne Marie's subjects and her very natural emotions. Of special interest to readers who may themselves be facing a shift in family structure. (Poetry. 8-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618234790
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/28/2005
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Andrew Glass has written several books for children and has illustrated many. He lives in New York City with his wife.

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a former middle-school teacher, is the author of three books, including Sketches from a Spy Tree, published by Clarion. She and her family live near Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information visit www.tracievaughnzimmer.com.

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