My Tree and Me
Jo Witek and Christine Roussey
This latest title in team Witek and Roussey’s In My Heart series presents the seasons through the eyes of the little girl narrator as she introduces her tall, more than 100 year old friend with ‘birds in his hair’ that she calls My Tree.
It’s with this understanding, non-judgemental tree that she shares the ups and downs of her life as well as using him as a partner for singing and dancing.
We learn of how the different seasons affect how she feels and what she does in relation to her friend; ‘With My Tree, I feel like I can fly’ she says of spring …
In summer said tree is a place under which to picnic, becoming a big house for all her animal friends as well as a static participant in a game of hide-and-seek.
Bare-branched and all a-tremble in winter, My Tree is kept warm by the child’s scarf and her fast jumping upon his ‘frozen feet’ – (strangely out of seasonal sequence this).
Said tree also has magical transformational powers, bestowing some on our narrator as she mixes a potion of earthworms, mouldy chestnuts and decaying leaves.
Come autumn My Tree’s branches with their colour changing leaves, provide umbrella-like protection from the sun’s rays.
No matter the season, My Tree, we’re told, smells good: in summer it’s with fruit and honey; moss and mushrooms signify autumn, peppermint is winter’s smell and fresh lime is his springtime one.
For My Tree, it’s easy to stay rooted to the spot but when the little girl tries a yoga tree pose, she finds balancing without wobbling something of a challenge …
both of the friends though, exhibit seasonal growth.
Like previous titles in the series, this has thick die cut pages; and Christine Roussey’s characteristic adorable ink-drawn narrator as well as inky aspects of My Tree, the rest of which is portrayed in colours appropriate to the season.
Celebrating the wonders of the natural world, this is another winning combination of words and pictures from the series’ collaborators.