Friday, May 14, 2010

A Tree For Emmy

A Tree For Emmy
published by Peachtree Publishers
written by Mary Ann Rodman
illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss

A Tree For Emmy is about a young girl who loves trees in general and soon grows very attached to her Gramma's Mimosa tree. The story shares Emmy's quest for her own Mimosa tree, and all of the bumps along the way to getting her own tree.

The story seems simple enough, but under the surface I found it was surprisingly more internal than I would have expected. The story focuses on Emmy's personality and her reactions to certain situations she finds herself in, both positive and negative. We see how she deals with communicating with other people (the shopkeepers she talks with while shopping for her Mimosa tree). We see how she handles disappointment... or doesn't (when no stores carry the type of tree that she wants and how she reacts), and we see how she ultimately rebounds and grows a little bit more mature through the process.

Emmy spends a lot of time playing by herself outside, with her cute scruffy dog as her mascot. It quickly grows clear that Emmy is an only child. Her parents as well as her "Gramma" are supporting players in the story. All are very supportive and sympathetic about Emmy's quest for her own Mimosa tree. We do witness a couple of Emmy meltdowns in the book, which at times lend the story a bit of an unexpectedly more serious tone. This supplies story tension in the midst of the lush visuals: whimsical, light-hearted, home-spun, mixed-media illustrations with bright watercolor-like splashes of color. 

The art is very feminine in palette and also in style. It has a fairy-like, ethereal quality which draws the viewer in to Emmy's world. It also does a good job of manifesting Emmy's aloneness as well—the art has a palpable sense of solitude. I also enjoyed the use of collage in the artwork, which adds additional interest and a touch of texture without disturbing the overall mood of the art.

I found A Tree For Emmy to be a quietly reflective book about a young girl who is faced with some situations in which she is able to eventually develop and practice some positive communication skills, learn a little responsibility, and, despite not always getting what you want, finding positivity within herself and actively manifesting that positivity outward.

A Tree For Emmy would be a good choice for any young girl but might resonate even more strongly with a young girl who is an only child. Emmy has no siblings and a lot of the issues she faces in the book revolve around the way she reacts to certain experiences with no others around who are also children. At the end of the book, Emmy's reaction to something pivotal shows that yes, she is growing up a little bit. It's a nice finish to this sweetly understated story.

Don't forget to leave a comment and be entered to win a Peachtree book! check back on Monday to see the winners! Good luck!


Mary said...

Really beautiful illustration for the frontcover. I'd love to read the story.
Mary x

melanie hope greenberg said...

Fantastic! Congratulations! Hope I win!

Tracy Bishop said...

Great detailed and thoughtful review.
I love the illustration of the cover.

greenbeanbaby said...

wow! a beautiful book and yes a wonderful review!!! i find myself buying books out of my son's scholastic's for ME more for him-[just hadda share that hahahaha]

greenbeanbaby at gmail dot com

Jessica said...

Sounds like a great book. Beautiful artwork!

A Pen In Neverland said...

Great reads to look forward to. I am head over heels with these lush reviews. Loving the detail and your dedication PB Junkies! Kudos galore!

Judy said...

Hope I am not too late to enter!

Ann Marie DiVecchia said...

I love the cover illustration! Sounds like a great story, too!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Such awesomeness and fabulous!!! The cover is wonderful.