Book Review: Pie in the Sky

Rating: ★★★★☆

In this story, similar to Growing Vegetable Soup, a child narrator traces the growing cycle of a cherry tree.  It opens with a kind of riddle: “Dad says it’s a pie tree/ I’ve never seen pies growing on trees.”  The story then traces the tree’s changes throughout the year, culminating as the family harvests cherries and transforms them into cherry pie (recipe included).  The riddle is further developed in sidebar-type “I spy” type descriptions listing features of each scene, opening, “I see…” and concluding each page with a puzzled, “but no pie.”  These descriptions, interspersed with the narrative text, do break up the rhythmic predictability of the story, but the repeated refrain at the end of each list does help the story maintain its continuity.  And these soliloquies provide a greater opportunity for young children to engage the visual interest of the story as they enjoy finding the different objects named.

Ehlert’s unique collage style is augmented with tactile experience in this work.  The pages are of varying widths, meaning that some parts of many scenes are included in the next.  This highlights the fact that the tree remains essentially the same as its appearance changes through the growing season.  The front cover features piecrust cutout holes opening onto a bright red page, just as a real piecrust hides its filling.

This book is best suited for a preschool audience, although older children may also enjoy it, especially if they are artistically inclined or if they might have an opportunity to try out the recipe.

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Publication Information: Ehlert, Lois. Pie in the Sky. Harcourt Children's Publications. 2004. ISBN: 0152165843.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 00-04
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Posted on April 11, 2012

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