Go to Homepage   T. A. Barron: Tree Girl

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsAce Fantasy (Paperback), ISBN 0399234578
A whimsical cover illustration by Trina Schart Hyman, gives readers their first glimpse of T.A. Barron's children's fantasy. Beneath this cover lie magical characters, mystery, myth and great storytelling. While the title gives much away, the story offers numerous delights, sprinkled with an air of mysticism and fairy-tale qualities. Written for children 8-12 (and up), Tree Girl chronicles the determined search of nine-year old Rowanna (Anna) to find where she came from, who her parents were, and who she is.

Book: T A Barron, tree girl
Anna lives alongside a crotchety old fisherman in a cottage by the sea. Master Mellwyn tells Anna that he discovered her, as a baby, at the base of the High Willow and brought her home. However, he refuses to tell her more off her origins and forbids her to wander into the forest. He warns of ghouls and claims such ghouls took her mother from her. Despite the stories, which Anna doesn't quite believe, she feels a strong connection to the High Willow.

Befriended by an eagle and a sprightly baby bear, Anna spends her days frolicking (she loves to swirl and dance) on the beach while she waits for Mellwyn's return on the boat. One day, feeling that the High Willow holds some key to her missing mother, Anna heeds the Willow's call and journeys into the forest. There, she faces the ghouls Master Mellwyn described and searches for the answers to the questions that haunt her.

Although somewhat unevenly paced and unclearly targeted with respect to age group, the simple tale proves a quick and enjoyable read. Tree Girl captivates with its clear voice and mystical tone, much like a Celtic fable. Strong themes run through the tale: coming of age (albeit with a twist -- a nine-year-old protagonist), self-realization through rebellion against a father figure (more of a young adult theme) and the need to combat our own fears. While predictable in plot, I found the book satisfying and reassuring (especially, as an adopted child myself).

Lynne Remick

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