Library Journal Review
K-Gr 3-All of the students in Miss Hawthorn's art class draw trees that are alike, except for Willow, a rosy-cheeked little girl who paints what she sees when she closes her eyes. When the rigid, unimaginative teacher tells her that blue apples do not exist, Willow brings her one the next day. "Horrid little girl," Miss Hawthorn says. Yet at Christmas the only gift Miss Hawthorn receives is from Willow. The child presents her with her beloved art book, which begins a transformation in the dour, unhappy woman. Miss Hawthorn begins to doodle and then to paint. Pictures are everywhere. When the children come back to school in January, they discover an inspired teacher in paint-smeared jeans and smock who invites them to help her change their room into a work of art. Soft-toned watercolors contrast colorful, autumn trees with the all-the-same green ones, show snow-covered trees that "broke when they could not bend," and finally present the willow tree in the art room, which is a tribute to Willow. Expressive faces show wonderment and joy as teacher and students discover-as Willow has-the intense power of imagination. This book can be read alone or read aloud and is a solid choice for elementary collections.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.