Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Button, Bucket, Sky

Button, Bucket, Sky

Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrator:  Vicki Jo Redenbaugh 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Carolrhoda Books, 1998   ISBN: 978-1575052441

Annie Livermore loves to sit on under her big oak tree with her cat Hector. One day as she is dozing in her rocking chair she dreams that her oak tree is sick and that she gives it chicken soup to get better. Unfortunately the soup is not a cure. When Annie wakes up she goes and looks at her lovely oak tree and what she sees gets her up and going. Annie tells Hector that they are wasting time and that they are ?late with our work.?

Soon we can see what Annie is up to. She recruits two children, Harriet Grace, and Little Sam, to help her find ?buttons with oak tree songs inside.? The four of them head for the park where they proceed to pick up as many acorns, or ?Buttons? as they can. As they pick they are surrounded by beautiful oak trees, oak trees that are a part of the lives of all sorts of people: children, fathers, families, lovers. The oak trees are players in the little joyful dramas that exist in the lives of all of the people in the town.

Back at Annie?s house the children and Annie prepare the acorns and then store them, ready to plant them in the spring.

The spring is the second section of the book, the ?Bucket? part of the story, when Annie and her friends plant their little acorns in every kind of container that they can lay their hands on. Soon little shoots push their way through the soil and begin to grow up and up. Annie and the children take care of their little trees over several years until it is time to begin the next step, the ?Sky? step.

In the third spring, Annie, Harriet Grace, Little Sam, and Hector plant their trees. The four of them find all sorts of wonderful places for their trees, places where they will be loved and appreciated and where the trees can grow up to the sky.

Lyrical, full of delightful imagery, and with a gentle message of caring, this picture book is a treasure. The author shows us that we must remember to give back to the earth, to plant as well as to reap, and to learn to appreciate the beauty of nature that exists all around us. At the back of the book the reader will find ?Annie Livermore?s Oak Tree Notebook? which explains how to plant and care for oak trees and how to share in hearing ?the music of the trees.? Soft colored pencil drawings capture the mood and compliment the text beautifully.