From School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A poetic story told with warmth. Deciding that their barren, prairie farmyard needs a tree, Mary, Mabel, and Molly hitch their horse and wagon and go in search of one. When at last a little sapling is found, they dig it up and transplant it in their yard. As the years pass, both the elm and the girls grow. It becomes integral in the life of the family by providing shade for picnics, a branch for a swing, and the setting for a wedding. The sisters leave the farm to start careers and marriages, but the elm is always there to greet them at each return. Eventually, the aging women return to their town and are near one another again. When Molly notices some dead leaves and withered branches, they cut down the tree-a sad day for the women. Yet as their tale ends, Molly's three great granddaughters arrive with a tiny new tree, and the story begins anew. The closeness of family is portrayed gently without excessive sentimentality. The sisters are independent, take-charge, do-it-themselves girls. Weihs has captured the feel of the Midwestern prairie through soft, folk-style oil paintings. The art is reflective of the early 20th century, but modern enough to span the 60-plus years of the narrative. The sisters age throughout the story, yet remain individually identifiable. The illustrations are a beautiful visual extension of the text. A lovely, intergenerational story to share.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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Ages 5-8. Trees--with their branches uplifted and their roots firmly anchored in the ground--are often seen as metaphors for emotional balance. They endure hardships and undergo renewal, without abandoning the source of their strength. This soft-spoken picture book quietly endorses that parallel as it follows the life of an elm tree and the three sisters who love it. Mary, Mabel, and Molly go in search of a sapling to help relieve the "emptiness" of their rural farm and find a tree on the river's bank. Thanks to a tender transplant, the elm bears witness to the milestones of the girls' lives and deaths, until the cycle begins anew. A whisper-soft tale that's balanced nicely by pastel-colored paintings of Americana. Kelly Halls
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