Full of light and love, and infused with the warmth of a special day in the countryside, this beautiful and uplifting picturebook reminds us to be present in the moment and value time with those we love..
“There’s juice on our hands and stains down our shirts…”
Early one morning, a mother and her daughter get up early to catch a bus. The child narrates, and although she is very young, she knows exactly what to expect: this is an annual and much-anticipated trip. They’re off to visit a mulberry tree in a field near a picture-postcard village, and as the rituals unfold – walking up the hill, greeting the tree, gathering the berries, taking them home, baking a pie – we observe family bonds being strengthened and memories being made….
As a commissioning editor at Walker Books, Tanya Rosie knows her audience, and her debut text is well written and a pleasure to read aloud. Imbued with the soft colours of an English countryside, Chuck Groenink’s artwork captures and elevates the mood, bringing an epic feel to the childhood memories that inspired this book. A loving, attentive regard between mother and child is the focal point for many of these spreads: the duo’s tender absorption in each other is notable, and is reinforced by a lack of other characters (although the mulberry tree gently welcomes and shelters its visitors, and also takes a leading role).
This is a book with much to offer young audiences, not least the warmth and reassurance that comes from a ‘strong and steady’ loving adult, but it will resonate with parents and carers, too. Time well spent with family and friends is irreplaceable, and giving status to a simple activity and allowing it the time and space to fully unfold can be more memorable and exciting than expensive treats…..
Gentle, evocative and important, Mum, Me and the Mulberry Tree makes a satisfying bedtime story, and will be welcomed in schools as a starting point for talking about days out, families and food.