Thea's Tree

by Alison Jackson and Janet Pedersen

For her “Future Scientist Project,” Thea Teawinkle of Topeka, Kansas,... read more

For her “Future Scientist Project,” Thea Teawinkle of Topeka, Kansas, plants a seed in her yard. When the ground turns purple and the dirt starts bubbling, her teacher suggests she write some local specialists for more information. With each letter, Thea describes the most recent change her plant has undergone. Could it be an African rubber plant, she excitedly queries? Not in Topeka, says botanist Bertram Beaman. Could it be a giant Venus flytrap, she anxiously inquires? Not in Topkea, says Anna Applebaum of the Arboretum. After two weeks, the plant is sky high. Thea finds a golden egg beneath it, and strange noises are rumbling above. Could there be a giant ostrich up there, she hopefully asks? Not in Topkea, says zoologist Zoe Zimmerman. Alison Jackson’s tongue-in-cheek story is told almost entirely through the amusing correspondence between Thea and a host of “experts,” none of whom can see the big picture or will consider the impossible. Many readers and listeners, however, will understand perfectly well what is going on—if the golden egg doesn’t give it away, the singing harp and the giant footprints surely do in this highly original homage to Jack and the Beanstalk . (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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