The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackallby Sophie Blackall

published 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books, at Penguin KidsThe Baby Tree by Sophie BlackallAbout a year ago, I heard Sophie Blackall give a keynote at SCBWI Western Washington. She wears great tights and shoes and is a total riot. She had this effervescent spirit that had the whole room in stitches. It felt like watching one of her illustrations bounce right off the page and into the room.

See, I’m a big fan. Ivy and Bean are soul sisters. I gushed about The Crows of Pearblossom and The Mighty Lalouche over at Design Mom, and still stand by this tweet from the end of 2013.

Her work has sprinkles of fairy dust or something in it – something enchanting and mysterious and compelling and darn beautiful.

And this, her latest offering, is both calming and humorous, sweet and sassy. It’s a bound and beautiful answer to the dreaded where do babies come from?

breakerShe’s so in tune with the vast (and sometimes creepy!) imagination of a youngster, and look at how that plays out in this art. Real life is a spot illustration, surrounded by white space and unknowns. But the what if bleeds to the edge of the page, filling every millimeter with color and wonder and possibility. Not only is it stunning to see, it’s intentional storytelling.The Baby Tree by Sophie BlackallThe Baby Tree by Sophie BlackallHat tip, always, to Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast for the interview that revealed that delicious tidbit. Check out her interview (and more art!) with Sophie here.

Sophie works in Brooklyn with other illustrators Brian Floca, Ed Hemingway, John Bemelmans Marciano, and Sergio Ruzzier. Can you even imagine spending an hour in that studio, soaking it all up and trying not to faint and fall in it? Dream field trip, for sure. Their kinship and support of one another has always been so apparent. Look here, and here, and here to see what I mean.

But also, look inside The Baby Tree for a glimpse at their love and support of one another. What’s our pajama-clad wonderer reading with Mom and Dad, all cozied up in bed? I won’t spoil it for you, cause it was a gasp-moment for me. If you’ll bust without knowing, check out Danielle’s post over at This Picture Book Life about allusions in picture books. (And stay there a while even once you see what I’m talking about, cause how brilliant is that?!)

You’d like a copy, right? Penguin has two to give away to you! (And you!) Just leave a comment on this post by Monday at noon PST, June 2nd. I’ll pick two, and have the stork deliver The Baby Tree right to your doorstep. Good luck!


Review copy provided by the publisher, all thoughts and love my own.


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29 thoughts on “The Baby Tree

  1. For me, there is nothing cuter than a swaddled baby and when I saw the cover of this new book, I gasped. The gorgeous illustration showing a baby swaddled in an egg makes me wonder how else these adorable babies will be conveyed. I am so anxious to see/read more. The great part about it all is that not only do adults love that universal swaddle but kids melt when they see it. That alone makes this topic a lot easier to convey within a picture book.

  2. Great post and lovely pics This is beautiful I really enjoyed the baby tree , thanks
    just few words now :
    VANDALS. A few days ago I read that in Ronchamp in France, one of the most important works of the architecture of the ‘900, a masterpiece of the architect Le Corbusier, suffered a serious act of vandalism: between 16 and January 17, 2014, someone broke through a window of the chapel of Notre-Dame du Haut, after the failed attempt to enter the front door, forcing it and damaging it. In my small way I would give my modest contribution to stigmatize the sad event. if you have time try to see this video:

    original photographs by mario caruso. music ,C minor blues of Modern Jazz Quartet , and adagio for strings by Samuel Barber.
    full screen reccomended , I would be pleased to receive your comments . thank you .

  3. Darn tootin’ I’d like a copy! Missed Connections is still my favorite Blackall. I love her style for it’s quiet, introverted interpretation of the the world – as if in slow motion. I cannot even imagine Blackall being a bouncy sort of person, so I look forward to hearing her speak and being surprised.

  4. Oh, the suspense is killing me! I can’t wait to read this adorable book to find out how this ends. Love the title, The Baby Tree.

  5. Absolutely, fairy dust and something magical goes into everything Sophie Blackall does. Her Missed Connections book is fantastic as well. She can do no wrong in my book! <3

  6. I also heard Sophie speak at the Seattle conference last year… and was completely charmed. She is as wonderful as her artwork. So sorry I didn’t get to meet you though… I really enjoy your blog and your great taste in picture books!!

  7. This looks beautiful! We’re ripping through the Ivy and Bean series right now as bedtime reading. I also recently heard Sophie and Annie Barrows on the PW Kidlit podcast or whatever they call it. Did you hear it?

  8. Wow. Great blog. Just found you through wordpress recommendation link. I write and teach third grade. I’ll pass your link on to my librarian and local bookseller. I was at Sophie’s keynote, too. My kids now have some signed copies from her.

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