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One Tree


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A touching and uplifting story about love, change and the importance of the natural environment in all our lives.

About the Author

Christopher Cheng (Author) Christopher Cheng dwells in an inner-city Sydney terrace and writes fiction and non-fiction for children full time. He is Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). He has a Master of Arts in Children's Literature and has been a Literacy Ambassador for the Federal Government's Literacy and Numeracy Week initiative. His picture book One Tree, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, was shortlisted in the 2020 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and is a CBCA Notable Book. One Child, illustrated by Steven Woolman, won the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Picture Books (Australia) and the Skipping Stones Honour Book (USA). Christopher also worked with Sarah Davis on the critically acclaimed picture book Sounds Spooky which won an Aurealis Award in the picture book category and is a CBCA Notable Book. Bruce Whatley (Illustrator) Since 1992 Bruce Whatley has written and/or illustrated more than 90 children's picture books. His internationally award-winning titles include his first two books, The Ugliest Dog in the World and Looking for Crabs. He often writes with his wife Rosie Smith and has also had much success with the Diary of a Wombat series created with Jackie French. Bruce uses a variety of illustration mediums including gouache, pen and ink, pencil, oils, watercolour and more recently CGI software. Tin Toys, The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas and Ruben are classic examples of his search for new ways to create images. Bruce and Rosie live on the south coast of New South Wales.


'Grandfather used to live happily on a farm, nearest the tallest tree on a mountain.
Now he lives with his family in a small apartment in a crowded city and he is silent and
sad. When his grandson, the narrator, takes home a tiny tree he's rescued from a
footpath, Grandfather is at first dismissive, but gradually becomes involved in helping
his grandson tend to the tree. Christopher Cheng's Chinese heritage informs this book
and it's a privilege for us to be included as readers. One Tree acknowledges the old
ways while being realistic, but not negative, about modern life. It shows there are
always possibilities for change and it emphasises how lucky we are to have elders in
our lives--and how important it is to listen to them. Bruce Whatley's illustrations are
wonderful. Whatley uses a new technique that has the appearance of linocut pictures,
although it has been achieved digitally. Not only do the pictures extend the text, but
they deepen it, and it's this technique that gives the story an extra layer of interest and
meaning. We follow Grandfather's life, with its obvious changes, but we also see that
renewal and regeneration are possible for both people and their environments. This is
an outstanding, life-affirming book that will surely stand the test time. It is
recommended for those aged five and up.' - Louise Pfanner, Books + Publishing
'This is a beautiful narrative of love, family, resilience and nature. One senses that
there could be a very personal back story to this new book and Bruce Whatley's
stunning illustrations capture perfectly the sense of Chinese culture in a linocut style.
This is a splendid picture book which I would predict will be firmly and rightfully placed
in award lists in the coming year.
Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards' - Sue Warren,
OZ-TL network of educators
'Whatley's detailed illustrations will remain with the reader as they close the last page
and think about the boy and his family. . . This is a beautiful testimony to the place of
older people within a family, the wisdom they can pass on, the changes they have seen
and their evolving relationships with the younger generation. Cheng inhabits his story
with an almost mythic quality; it is like reading a fable which readers will ponder long
after the story has finished.' - ReadPlus

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