A Tree is Nice


by Janice May Udry and pictures by Marc Simont (HarperCollins, 1987, originally published in 1956)

IMG_1937 copy

I’ve always loved this girl. Hand on her hop, watering her tree. She’s totally oblivious to the rapscallions behind her, that dog and that cat. And even that tall tree back there. Her eyes hope only for this one.

IMG_1938 copy IMG_1939 copy

Do you see him there? The kid in the tshirt, looking up? Surely this text matches his thoughts exactly.

And what HarperCollins did here with the height of this book will not be lost on its readers. Long and tall and high, plenty of room for looking up. Plenty of height from which to hang dreams. Staircases of branches for swinging.

IMG_1940 copy

And the pages. A swishing kind of breeze between the black and white spreads and the ones painted in color. A sleight of hand out in the open that slows you down to think. To remember. To watch.

IMG_1941 copy IMG_1943 copy

Your tree might be different than my tree. You might need it for a nap and I might need it for a climb. But we probably have the same wishes.

IMG_1944 copy

A while back I wrote a piece for Marcie Flinchum Atkins’s blog, and if I’d had infinite time and space, this book would have been there too. This book planted a story seed of the best kind.

Dig a big hole. Plant your tree. Don’t forget the watering can.





  • Andrea Mack
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I’ve never read this book but the illustrations look lovely!

  • Posted March 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Simont is one of my absolute favorite illustrators!

  • Jilanne Hoffmann
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen this book. Now I must go find a copy. Thank you!

  • Posted March 16, 2016 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I love this book SO much!! And adore Simont. I even put a tiny homage to it in the book I’m working on… 😉

  • carterhiggins
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Our books will be great friends then!

  • Posted March 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I love this book so very much. When my babies were very little, I fell in love with Flotsam. It lead me to the Caldecott section of my little, local library where I spent the next several visits reading through each and every book. I remember this book so well! I’m delighted, but not surprised to see it here.