Thea's Tree

Overview

Thea's science project grows unusually tall in this funny twist on the classic Jack fairy tale.

Thea decides to plant some old bean seeds and watch them grow as her science project. And grow they do-into a giant beanstalk. Savvy young readers will recognize elements from the classic 'Jack' fairy tale, such as a harp and golden egg, but the haughty grown-ups that Thea writes to for help do not. Thea receives letters and comical advice from a plethora of dim 'experts,' ranging ...

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Overview

Thea's science project grows unusually tall in this funny twist on the classic Jack fairy tale.

Thea decides to plant some old bean seeds and watch them grow as her science project. And grow they do-into a giant beanstalk. Savvy young readers will recognize elements from the classic 'Jack' fairy tale, such as a harp and golden egg, but the haughty grown-ups that Thea writes to for help do not. Thea receives letters and comical advice from a plethora of dim 'experts,' ranging from botanist to symphony conductor to zoologist. Thea's Tree playfully combines curriculum areas, including science, language arts, and storytelling into a clever tale kids will love.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Thea decides to plant a strange seed for her science project. The story of that project is told in a series of letters Thea sends out for advice as her seed sprouts and grows, and the answers she receives. The local horticultural society, the Arboretum, and the Natural History Museum all assure her that the plant can't be what she thinks it is, as she describes its continual enormous growth. When she finds a large golden egg next to it, she tries the zoo, to no avail. The Topeka bank cannot explain the gold pieces she finds, nor can the orchestra understand the singing harp. After four weeks, Thea writes desperately to the tree removal people, but they can make no impression on what has overgrown her house. By now all readers should have made the connection with Jack's beanstalk that seems to stump the "experts." So they will not be surprised at the crash, as the giant runs after Jack and the tree is gone with everything else. Only the footprints remain for Thea's report. A nervous black ink line creates the images generated by Thea's letters. Casually applied transparent watercolors add to the comic naturalism of the characters and scenes with many details. Pedersen creates personalities with humor but Thea is a convincingly real youngster. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- Thea enthusiastically begins her science project by planting an odd purple bean in her yard. In a few days, the soil around it turns purple and bubbly, and the seed starts growing. As its roots and vines engulf her house, the child is curious, her parents are furious, and the experts (a botanist, a zoologist, and a banker, among others) are humorously clueless. Young readers, however, won't be, quickly recognizing the golden egg, singing harp, gold coins, and giant footprints at the base of the vine. The story is told almost entirely through letters to the scientists, and alert readers will enjoy the transition of Thea's moods as reflected in her closings: from "Excitedly" and "Eagerly" to "Confusedly" and "Desperately." Pedersen's energetic, full-page watercolor illustrations capture the hilarious consequences of Thea's growing crisis as the mysterious plant blocks the sun and causes havoc. The conclusion is entirely visual and will confirm readers' suspicions that the story of Jack and the Beanstalk is being played out in Thea's front yard, even if no adult believes it. This is a funny story that kids will love, and teachers may find useful to include in fairy-tale or letter-writing units.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

Kirkus Reviews
When Thea's science teacher assigns her a month-long project that includes research, observation and recording data, Thea decides to plant a purple seed and watch what happens. In just three days, the dirt has turned purple, oozy and bubbly. In nine days, the trunk is ten feet around. Thea keeps readers up-to-date on the plant's growth through letters she writes to all sorts of specialists (all with alliterative names and all clueless), trying to find out what kind of plant she has. Readers will not be clueless, though, especially after Thea finds a golden egg, gold coins and singing harp beneath her "tree." Thea's scientific observations and hypotheses will make a science teacher's heart sing. Pedersen's line-and-watercolor illustrations are spot-on, matching the fairy-tale background of the original while bringing out the scientific details to go with the modern retelling. Save a spot on the shelves for this one...or maybe not-it will always be checked out. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525474432
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 633,542
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Jackson is the award-winning artist who created the BBC TV series Double Take and the internationally acclaimed Schweppes advertising campaign. After studying sculpture and then Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art in London, Alison's work, has for the last five years, astonished and sometimes shocked audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

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