A tree waits…and waits…for humans to pay attention in Dee’s picture book.
In the late 1700s, a sapling wants to enjoy the presence of all other living creatures. But while most animals will stop and sit with the small tree, one group will not: humans. First represented by a group of Native hunters, then by European settlers in covered wagons and Puritan home builders, the humans go about their own business, never stopping to sit with the tree. In a repeated refrain, the seeking tree asks, “Will you sit with us?” An older voice of the forest answers, “They are busy, Young One.”
Each time, the tree grows more frustrated, until the forest is cleared away, first for farmland, then a city, and finally a futuristic megalopolis. In this last setting, the tree stands alone and is finally approached by a human family in space suits, who sit with the tree and gather its seeds, hopeful for the future. Dee and Oldaker create beautiful painted illustrations; the natural world’s beauty is highlighted even as it diminishes in each spread until it is overtaken. The impact of the images, and of the frustration in the seeking tree’s repeated text, ably communicates the message of how important it is to commune with the natural world.
An accessible call to appreciate nature.