Barron is a wonderful storyteller, a maker of myths and fables who creates magical places where characters learn wisdom and power.”—School Library Journal
"Tree Girl will surely delight its readers. As in all T.A. Barron books, there is a great deal of wisdom and humor — and an unforgettable hero."— Madeleine L'Engle Newbery Winner, A Wrinkle in Time
“Barron portrays [characters]… with subtlety and originality... [Readers] will respond to underlying themes of self-reliance, rebellion, and the search for self-knowledge.”—Booklist
“Behind Tree Girl is the author's bone deep belief in the holiness of our earth and the children and trees on it. I wish there were a thousand T.A. Barrons out there.”—Rosemary Wells, Author of Mary on Horseback
“Tree Girl is sprightly, magical, and wise. The story is one to enjoy and to ponder, a breath of the forest—a delight.”—Barbara Helen Berger, Author of Grandfather Twilight
“In Tree Girl, T.A. Barron has created a fantasy with the poignancy and the lyricism of the best tales of Hans Christian Andersen.”—Barbara Kiefer, Author of Children's Literature in the Elementary School, 6th and 7th Editions
“Weaves elements of environmentalism, folklore, and personal discovery into a story that is brief but completely engrossing.”—BabyCenter.com
“I read Tree Girl aloud to my entire family (my youngest is a 2nd grader). They were entranced. The only time I heard anything from them was when I paused to take a drink. The cry was, ‘Keep going!’”—BookReview.com
“I found Tree Girl very touching. It speaks to the mystery that every child has within.”—William Howarth, Professor of English Literature, Princeton University
“T. A. Barron is a wonderful find for young readers for this reason: He tells interesting stories without dumbing them down.”—Boulder Daily Camera
Barron's (The Lost Years of Merlin) unevenly paced fantasy centers on nine-year-old Anna, who lives with a crotchety old man in a cottage near the forest. In answer to her repeated inquiries about her past, her guardian, Master Mellwyn, tells her only that he found her as an infant nestled in the roots of a willow tree. He forbids her to go into the woods, warning that evil "ghouls" live there. At the same time, she is repeatedly drawn to the sight of the High Willow, which towers over the other forest trees: "Something about this tree spoke to her aye, called to her." The chapter that chronicles the heroine's softening toward her master and her immediate about-face moves too swiftly for readers to find her abrupt changes of heart credible. The upshot is that Anna befriends a forbidden bear who suddenly transforms into a boy and announces that he is a "tree spirit." As the two bond, readers will likely piece together the lass's identity, rendering anticlimactic the moment when she discovers who her mother is. The story's confusing internal logic (Why does Anna bear a striking resemblance to the Master's late daughter, for instance?) and predictable denouement diminish its effect. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 4-7-Barron is a wonderful storyteller, a maker of myths and fables who creates magical places where characters learn wisdom and power. Here, nine-year-old Rowanna is determined to discover her past and find her mother. She lives in a lonely cottage by the sea with a fisherman, old Mellwyn, who rescued her as a baby from beneath the High Willow tree in a forest that is haunted by tree ghouls. In time, Anna befriends a bear/boy who is a tree spirit. When the protection Mellwyn offers begins to feel like a restraint, the girl makes her way to the High Willow with her friend on High Hallow Eve. On that day, spirits emerge from the trees and dance through the night. Anna learns that there are no tree ghouls, and that she, too, is a tree spirit, the daughter of the High Willow. The message is clear: if we are fearful, we will see frightening things around us, while if we are positive in our outlook, we will be open to the world around us. As in the author's previous novels, magic and the supernatural are used to reveal the interconnectedness of all living things and to convey a deep respect for nature. Stylistically rich and lyrical, this novel weaves themes of self-discovery, family, loyalty, and friendship into an imaginative tale.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this short fantasy novel, nine-year-old Rowanna, who lives in an isolated cottage with an old fisherman she calls Master, longs to learn more about her mother. Master has forbidden Rowanna to enter the woods near the cottage, which he claims are full of dangerous tree ghouls. But a playful young bear coaxes Rowanna into the woods and after they becomes friends, she spends her days there. On High Hallow Eve, the two friends take a day-long journey to find the tree where Master discovered Rowanna as a baby. A wild night ensues when the tree spirits emerge and dance with joy, and Rowanna learns the secret of her mother, who is a willow tree. The revelation, though, creates a major inconsistency in the fantasy, causing the reader to wonder why the mother's tree spirit didn't simply rescue Rowanna years earlier. Barron (The Wings of Merlin, 2000, etc.) writes lyrically about the forest and seasons, but he has unfortunately tried to give the language an old-fashioned sound by repeated use of words like "mayhaps" and "aye." He also relies heavily on exclamation points and italics to add emotion. For example, when Rowanna sees a drawing in the sand, she realizes, "It was the face of the master himself! Aye, that it was!" The uncomplicated, slightly predictable story will appeal only to fantasy and fairy-tale lovers who can overlook the often stilted prose. Forsooth. (Fiction 8-11)