We’ve featured Barbara Reid on our blog before – her book The Party is a fantastic story and you can read Kim’s review to learn more about this fun story! Today, I share Reid’s book Picture a Tree. My mother is an amazing artist and Miss J absolutely LOVES quality “painting time” with Nanny when they have the chance to visit one another. The most amazing thing about spending time with Nanny is that she has this incredible ability to help you connect with those deep corners of your imagination that you either didn’t know you had or had simply forgotten exist. Miss J’s imagination is at its prime when she has spent some quality time with Nanny, which is why this book has left such an impression on me. It’s all about interpretation, and seeing beyond what’s in front of you.
From bare branches tracing the sky, to an explosion of colour, a place for adventure or a friend to shelter us from the sun-a tree can be so many things. With lyrical text and her signature Plasticine magic, Barbara Reid captures these majestic beings: in every season, growing and changing, interacting with the people and animals around them.
Reid’s use of plasticine to illustrate her stories is, in my opinion, one of the neatest ways to kick-start her readers’ imaginations. It’s a very obvious form of illustration that instantly reminds readers that the picture was “created”. Sometimes I forget that regular “drawn” illustrations are the result of hours of an artist’s time and energy and that they have been carefully planned to illustrate the story. It’s impossible to forget this with Reid’s stories because her use of plasticine is so unique and intricate. On her website, she has fantastic tips to help you learn the art of plasticine – a great extension activity to do with your little ones after reading one of Reid’s stories!
The Good Morning Teacher’s Blog has a couple of great plasticine extension activities for Picture A Tree. Definitely a fantastic way to continue the learning and reflecting on this fantastic children’s story!