PreS-Gr 3-A gypsy couple settles down and makes a living by selling the bountiful produce of a cherry tree that grows beside their cottage. When a drought sets in, the woman grows resentful of the woodland birds for consuming nearly all of their fruit, and convinces her husband to hang a number of noise makers in the branches to frighten them away. When the leaves fall, the birds return and sing to the music of the decorated tree; in appreciation, the couple feed them over the winter. Years later, their feathered friends lead them to an orchard in the deep woods. After picking all the cherries they can carry, they return home and plant a pit beside the old tree. Children may ask why the birds waited until the couple became so old and poor to show them the orchard, or why the wife did not plant the pits earlier. These lapses in logic prevent the poetically told tale from being completely successful. Each full-page, detailed watercolor faces a block of text surrounded by white space and decorated with a smaller illustration of an element from the story. The palette includes the browns, tans, greens, and blues of nature and the reds of cherries, ribbons, and vests. The pictures are generally well composed and feature accurately rendered birds, but the posed figures are at times awkward.-Cynthia K. Richey, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA
Mary Harris Veeder
Tired of the traveling life, a Gypsy couple settles down in a forest clearing near a spring. They come to love a cherry tree growing nearby, and when the tree is abundant with fruit, they sell cherry jams and tarts and pies and don't mind sharing the bounty with the birds. When a drought strikes, the wife begins to resent the birds' taking the berries, and the husband tinkers together some chimes to frighten the creatures away. Later, the wife decides that the birds are generous with their song and welcomes them back with suet hung on the chimes. Eventually, the birds respond by showing the couple, now much older, a new grove of cherry trees. The text is not suspenseful, but the enduring connection between the land and animals and the happy couple (who live to subsist rather than grow rich) seems real, especially as conveyed through pictures rich in objects, plants, and foods. Truly a "happily ever after" tale.