In the beginning, the world’s Great Maker planted gardens filled with all sorts of lovely plants and creatures. Most lovely of all were the gardens of tall trees that reached to the sky and were a home for all the birds. But as people became greedy, the gardens were ruined, the trees were cut down, and the birds no longer sang. The Tale of the Heaven Tree tells how one small child and a single ugly, wrinkled, brown seed show people the way back to the Great Maker’s garden ...
In the beginning, the world’s Great Maker planted gardens filled with all sorts of lovely plants and creatures. Most lovely of all were the gardens of tall trees that reached to the sky and were a home for all the birds. But as people became greedy, the gardens were ruined, the trees were cut down, and the birds no longer sang. The Tale of the Heaven Tree tells how one small child and a single ugly, wrinkled, brown seed show people the way back to the Great Maker’s garden paradise.
So's energetically patterned and supremely inventive watercolors instantly command attention in this lyrically told story, part creation tale, part ecological fable.
- Publisher's Weekly
Part creation story, part ecological fable, this eye-catching volume extols the beauty of the natural world and emphasizes the importance of preserving it. In the various gardens created by "the world's Great Maker," plants and beasts of every type flourish. Prairie gardens "rippling with grasses" and woodland gardens "deep in green moss and shyly nodding bellflowers" color the glorious landscape, while the "warbling and whistling, tumbling, trilling melodies" of birds fill the air. The humans, however, decide to develop more land and construct larger and larger buildings, and eventually the gardens are razed and devastated, the animals displaced, suffering or dead. A sole child, with guidance from the Great Maker, begins a regeneration of the gardens with one small seed. Joslin's (The Goodbye Boat) lyrical prose provides a portrait of paradise, and her deftly delivered message is likely to inspire young readers. But it is So's (The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom) energetically patterned watercolors that instantly command attention. Airy, sweeping nature scenes feature wispy lines and loose brush strokes, while darker, crowded cityscapes feature intricate geometric designs. Varied compositions reflect the changing moods of the story: stacked panels show the exuberant coexistence of woodland, prairie and undersea "gardens"; lines of copy swoop to mimic the flight of birds; narrow text blocks are shoehorned next to equally narrow skyscrapers. So's light, playful style proves an ideal counterpoint to the story's sober undercurrents. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
- Karen Porter
This beautifully illustrated book uses simple text to describe the development of the world. It begins with the planting of gardens by the Great Maker and depicts the progress of mankind in reshaping the landscape. The pictures become more and more dreary as buildings replace animals, trees and birds. The book ends on a positive note when the Heaven Tree, planted from an ugly brown seed by a child, once again becomes a garden haven for creatures big and small. This book would be an excellent choice to initiate discussions about humankind's impact on the environment and our responsibility to take care of our planet.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This gracefully written ecological and spiritual fable tells of the gardens of the earth, planted by the Great Maker in woodlands, prairies, and oceans, and given to humans to tend to and enjoy. Then people grow greedy, despoiling nature to build elaborate cities filled with luxuries. From high in her palace home, a little girl gazes down at the devastation and weeps, until the Maker's voice whispers that she must plant and nurture a seed she will find lying on the ground. It flourishes, growing into a gigantic tree that shelters all of the dispossessed animals and birds and reaches all the way to the Great Maker's garden paradise in Heaven, perhaps a metaphor for our needful reclamation of the earth today. As certain actions, thoughts, and sounds are expressed, the simple, poetic text often inventively swoops and ripples across the double-page, decorative watercolor illustrations that combine the meticulous elegance of Chinese brush painting with the exuberance of folk art.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|