________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 15 . . . . March 30, 2001

cover The Floating Orchard.

Troon Harrison. Illustrated by Miranda Jones.
Toronto, ON; Tundra Books, 2000.
32 pp., cloth, $19.99.
ISBN 0-88776-439-8.

Subject Headings:
Orchards-Juvenile fiction.
Floods-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

*** /4


Only Damson was sad. She missed her great-grandfather's house. She remembered how the plum trees had been hung with stars on winter nights. As she stroked the smooth mast, she began to cry. Her salty tears soaked into the wood. At the very tip of the mast, something strange began to happen.
image Damson was very fond of saying, "This is where I was born and where I will always live." Damson lived alone on her family's homestead with only her animals and a magnificent plum tree orchard to keep her company. When rain began to flood the land, a worried Damson built a boat. A traveling pear tree planter arrived at the orchard in time to escape the flood with Damson. Unfortunately, the oldest plum tree in the orchard had to be cut down because Damson and her new friend needed a tall strong mast for their boat. Damson and Bartlett set sail on the "Orchard Queen," which they named after Damson's special plum tree. They floated for days and days with their bright quilt sail taking them far away from the land they once knew. At last, the rain stopped, and a rainbow pointed the way to a new home. But Damson misses her family's homestead and her beautiful plum orchard. Magically, Damson's tears bring the mast back to life. When the mast is planted on the hill, it sprouts new growth. Bartlett plants his last seed alongside the restored "Orchard Queen." An orchard springs up, and the couple builds a home among the pear and plum trees.

      Author Troon Harrison has written another great story which will be enjoyed by many readers. Adults might find humor in the fact that the pear tree planter's name is Bartlett. The paintings by Miranda Jones are done in oil on paper. These warm colourful paintings bring the story alive, and the lovely quilt-like borders add to the scenes beautifully. Jones does a particularly effective job of illustrating the many animals in this Noah's Ark type story. The animals' emotions show clearly on their faces. My storytime group enjoyed this tale in my "Fables and Fairytales" themed program. A great purchase for public and school libraries.


Catherine Hoyt is the Curator of the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364