Written by: Uma Krishnaswami; illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy
Published by: Groundwork Books, 2010
Themes: passage of time, India, trees
A dusty path ran through a village.
People and animals
walked up and down,
going from here to there
and back again”
A boy discovers a small sapling in the middle of a dusty path and sets about nurturing this baby tree. This dusty path serves animals and people, who yell, “out of the way! out of the way!. the path becomes a curving lane, around the tree, which serves bullock carts and cyclists and the people yell, “out of the way! out of the way!”. Eventually a busy road is built circimnavigating the tree, with cars and motorbikes and trucks, where drivers yell, “out of the way! out of the way!” Throughout the little boy cares for this sapling, which develops into a massive tree offering shade and pleasure for many. The tree reminds the now old man of good memories and even some of those busy people on the move take time to refresh themselves beneath the tree, “and listen”.
Why I like this book:
A lyrical Indian story inspired by a memory from the author’s childhood. The noisy change and repetitive call balance beautifully with the fluidity of the text and the nurture of life amidst the burgeoning urban chaos. This is a captivating Indian scene for me and will give the reader a beautiful glimpse into the subcontinent, with illustrations in pen & ink and blocks of colour and a traditional folk-art style. It’ a great addition to any multicultural classroom project.
Kathi Appelt does a video interview with Uma Krishnaswami about the book.
A Brief Primer for kids on Indian folk art.
A short animated movie on Indian Folk Art.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.