I was looking at a stack of new picture books the other day, deciding which ones to purchase for the new school year, and admittedly, after looking at maybe 200 books, some of them started to run together. But one of the few that stuck in my mind was The Inside Tree by Linda Smith and illustrated by David Parkins. Linda Smith’s name caught my attention right away because I knew she died in 2000. Her picture books, Mrs. Biddlebox and Mrs. Crump’s Cat are often read in our school library. At first, I thought perhaps this book was written by a different Linda Smith, but when I looked inside and read that it was published by “the estate,” it gave me a little stab.
I was happy to see that The Inside Tree was published with illustrations by David Parkins. Parkins first came to my attention with the Sophie stories, a series of early chapter books by Dick King-Smith. Parkins also illustrated Shhhhh! Everybody’s Sleeping!
The Inside Tree is a delight in every way. The story of Mr. Potter, a man with a good heart, his funny dog, and a tree that comes in from the cold, this book is sure to be a winner at storytime. The illustrations are bright and cozy and extend the story by adding warmth and wit, especially through the dog’s expressions. I can’t wait to share this one with a group of 1st through 3rd grade kids.