Up in the Tree by Margaret Atwood
|Up in the Tree by Margaret Atwood|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Magda Healey|
|Summary: This is more attractive to fans interested in the complete Atwood's oeuvre than people looking for a picture book as such, but its playful text and quaintly muted illustrations make it worth for itself as well.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: April 2008|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
Two children live in a tree: through sun (when it's fun) and rain (when it's a pain), from spring (when they swing) to fall (when they crawl). One day, beavers eat through their ladder and they have to find a way down (and the way to get up again).
Up In The Tree is a picture book for children written and illustrated by Margaret Atwood in 1978. First published in the time when printing in colour was very expensive, it only uses blue, red and brown (which is the combination of the two) throughout. The effect is somehow quaint and rather charming. The illustrations are simple but vivid and the typography (or rather, hand-lettering, as the whole book is by Atwood) is well integrated into the artwork.
The text is very simple, but amusing, very much in the spirit of Dr Seuss, although less wildly eccentric; with an excellent use of rhythm, repetition and rhyme making it a joy to read aloud.
By modern standards of production and illustration of children's books, though, Up In The Tree is rather primitive and I am virtually certain that if its author was not a prominent writer otherwise, it would not have been re-issued. I am quite glad it was as I liked its playfulness and the muted hues were a welcome change from the onslaught of primary colours so typical of modern picture books.
But in all honesty, I think Up In The Tree will have more of an attraction to those interested in the complete Atwood's oeuvre than people looking for a picture book as such.
Still, it's a gem for the fans and a nice - and different - picture book in its own right.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending us the book.
If you like that, you might also like the more anarchic The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
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