A Tree is Nice was written by Janice May Udry and illustrated by Marc Simont. This is a pretty simple book – if you’ve read the title, you know what this book is about: trees and all their good qualities (Who can argue with that?). The book definitely grew on me though. It has a quiet charm. It was Udry’s first children’s book, quite the impressive debut!
The illustrations alternate between full-color and black and white. There are great details, but the drawings aren’t crowded. Simply lovely. The book is narrow and tall, which helps it stand out. There is a good mix of boys AND girls in and around those very nice trees.
Marc Simont’s illustration career spanned 6 decades. In addition to winning the medal in 1957, he had Caldecott Honor books in 1950 (The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss) and 2002 (The Stray Dog, which Simont both wrote and illustrated)! He illustrated over 100 children’s books, collaborating with many well-known authors. Simont just died in 2013. He had an interesting and illustrious life (he and the illustrator Robert McCloskey were once roommates!) His obituary in the New York Times is well worth a read.
This book is probably most appealing to early elementary school readers, but Frances enjoyed it too. It would be a perfect read-aloud for Arbor Day.
One of my Life List goals is to read all of the Caldecott winners. This is my fourth post about a Caldecott book. You can read the other Caldecott posts here.