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The Inside Tree

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Mr. Potter lives all alone in his little house. And outside is a little yard with just enough room for one little tree. In fact, it’s such a fine tree that good-hearted Mr. Potter feels bad that it stands there all alone in the yard while he stays warm by the fire inside the house. It doesn’t seem right that the tree is never invited in. And so he decides to do just that. But what will happen when the tree grows and grows and grows—and his little house stays exactly the same ...

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Overview

Mr. Potter lives all alone in his little house. And outside is a little yard with just enough room for one little tree. In fact, it’s such a fine tree that good-hearted Mr. Potter feels bad that it stands there all alone in the yard while he stays warm by the fire inside the house. It doesn’t seem right that the tree is never invited in. And so he decides to do just that. But what will happen when the tree grows and grows and grows—and his little house stays exactly the same size?

Things get a little out of control when Mr. Potter decides to bring his dog, and then a favorite tree, into the house to live.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Melissa Rife
Mr. Potter, a man who lives alone, looks out every day at a single tree in his yard and a single dog underneath. One day, in an attempt to keep the tree and dog from being lonely outside on their own, he brings the dog in, and replants the tree inside his house. While this arrangement is at first okay, day by day, the tree begins to take over his house so that eventually, what was the inside becomes the "outside." The story is very cute, but also holds a bigger lesson. At the end, Mr. Potter learns that everything has its place; sometimes things that are outside belong outside. Also perhaps they are not lonely at all being outside. The dog that accompanies him through his adventure with the tree takes on a character of his own, helping the man in little ways, eventually saving him from making the same mistake again. As well, the story is a good length, allowing for development of the character and the story, while not drawing it out, too, much. The illustrations are eye-catching and colorful, giving a lot of detail to each scene. Especially interesting is a page where birds have taken over the house to live in the tree. A number of different bird species are pictured in small places throughout the page. Definitely a fun bedtime story. Reviewer: Melissa Rife
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Living alone in his little house on a hill with a tiny yard big enough for his dog and a single tree, Mr. Potter has a perfectly cozy arrangement. However, the night he decides to let the dog in to enjoy the fire begins a chain of events that includes bringing the tree inside, too. Soon the growing tree wants to go back outside, so Mr. Potter makes a big hole in his roof to accommodate it. Now the tree has plenty of sunshine and critters, and all is well until it begins to storm. After days of rain, Mr. Potter moves his favorite chair, stove, and teapot into the dry, warm barn just as his house collapses. He is happy with his new arrangement until he realizes how lonely the cow out in the field looks, but this is a thought that the dog immediately nips in the bud. Smith's text is perfectly complemented by the illustrations. Without saying a word, the dog clearly wonders along with readers what ill-advised thing will Mr. Potter do next. Parkins uses a mix of realistic details, excellent facial expressions, and varying perspectives to bring the story to life. This kindhearted tale is best read aloud with plenty of extra time for laughter and bemusement.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Kirkus Reviews
Mr. Potter lives a cozy life in his little house, enjoying tea by the fire and looking out at a fine tree in his yard, underneath which his dog sleeps. One night, he notices his dog looking in through the window and decides to bring him inside. The generous gesture has ramifications, though: Now the tree outside seems lonely without the dog. Uprooting the tree, Potter plants it within the house, directly through the floorboards, and in no time the tree's growth necessitates a hole through the roof. When it inevitably starts to rain, the cherubic and portly Potter decides to move into the barn, allowing the tree to flourish outside once its growth precipitates the collapse of the existing house walls. The absurdity of this story flows neatly; even though Potter does not seem to understand his foolishness, in both text and illustrations the dog provides a healthy skepticism. Parkins's deep, dark acrylics on canvas detail all the comforts of home. Potter's noodlehead behavior will have kids anticipating and groaning throughout. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060282417
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Smith is the author of When Moon Fell Down, Mrs. Biddlebox, There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Boot, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book Mrs. Crump's Cat. Linda lived a full life in a short period of time. On June 28, 2000, she passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer, but she left behind a world of language, love, and good humor that shines through in her books.

David Parkins is the illustrator of numerous children's books, including Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping by Julie Markes, Jeepers Creepers: A Monstrous ABC by Laura Leuck, and Webster J. Duck by Martin Waddell. His illustrations have also appeared in magazines, comics, school textbooks, and newspapers. He lives in Canada with his wife, Angie, and daughter, Hattie.

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