“In this fantastical tale, by turns charming and pensive, Shelly Reuben gives us a park-dwelling, talking tree as our storyteller. And from this leafy perch, we too are viewers, observing a community’s unfolding joys, sorrows, memories, and triumphs. Curious children, romantic couples, and sage elders share their experiences, not knowing about the enchanted autobiography underway.
“The title is a reminder that even the most verdant refuge is never perfect. An interloper determined to bring dissension to the cast of characters must be uprooted. It is in this battle against evil—played out in scenes ranging from witty to poignant—that the book’s deeper meanings come to the surface. The black-and-white illustrations have just the right combination of realism and fantasy. Otherworldly, but still…human. And humane.” Mary F. Holahan - Curator of Illustration, Delaware Art Museum
Among the characters within these pages meet:
Samuel Swerling: A World War II veteran and inventor, determined to create a park with trees that “positively begged children to leap into their branches and climb!”
Alonso Hannah: A one-armed arborist with a genius for training trees to grow in directions that either defy or improve upon nature, depending on your point of view.
Esther Swerling: The grandchild Sam always longed for who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, eagerly answered, “I want to be you, Grandpa.”
Ethan’s Best Friend: A bird named Pal, so valiant and loyal, a plaque about him in Sam’s park reads: “Twix man and bird in such a way; did love and friendship save the day.”
Mike Hurwitz: The Commissioner of Parks, with a “passion for flowers, shrubs, and trees,” who is absent without leave when his beloved plants need him most.