Thursday, May 14, 2009

L'abero di Stefano/Stephen's Tree by Libby Hathorn

'Stephen's Tree' is about a young boy who finds a small Gum Tree is delivered to his father's plant nursery and he asks him if he can have it. His father, Mario, allows him to; seeing the tree is so small. One day, while the two are out doing errands, the tree is sold to a man who won't give it back and drives away with it. However, the tree isn't cared for by the man and when he moves from his house, he forgets he has it. So, when the next people move in, they don't know why it's not surviving and take it to the nursery where Mario offers up another plant as a replacement. That day, Mario and Stephen take the Gum Tree home and plant it in their small backyard where it grows happily and tall - like all Gum Trees do. This book is beautifully illustrated and the story is wonderfully told in simple English and Spanish. I do miss these kinds of books.

This wonderful book was given is uniquely set out in such a way that your child can learn another language as well as English. On the left page the story is written in Spanish while on the facing page, it's written in English. On the bottom of both pages is the most beautiful illustrations I've seen in books for a long time. This hard cover edition that I own was published in 1979 and I have treasured it since. If you ever come across another copy, I urge you to treasure it and learn the gorgeous, lilting language that is Spanish just so that you can read this book to your children.
I have been searching the net for a while now to find a book cover and have found it extremely difficult to find this book on sale anywhere in bookstores. When I looked into more, the prices for a hard cover, good condition 'Stephen Tree' runs into the hundreds of dollars. So, followers of 'My Reading List', you have one copy of this book stashed way, please do get it valued and care for it (as I have) as it's worth quite a bit.

Libby Hathorn has written many books since this first publication in 1979. She's a great Australian children's writer and has traveled abroad many times, was brought up in Sydney, NSW and lives there now. She's is famous for writing poetry, songs and novels as well as educational resources. Libby Hathorn has recently put out a new book called 'Fire Song'.

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