Megan Bickel at The Write-At-Home-Mom is hosting the "My Favorite Picture Book Blogfest"! The rules are easy, just blog about your favorite picture book in two sentences or fifteen paragraphs. When I read about the blogfest, I immediately thought of a picture book I loved as a child and the blogfest looked like the perfect opportunity to blog about it- but could I find it? Was it perhaps a memory which I have dreamed up and is actually nonexistent? I have not laid eyes upon the book in all my years in the library, hmmmm.... So, I googled it and low and behold there it was on Amazon, a collectible, first edition!!! (hint, hint to any readers who might be buying presents for pretty girls!!!)
Growing up, my parents were quite poor but my mother insisted (despite objections) that I be signed up for the Book of the Month club at a very young age. Each month a book would appear carefully wrapped in cardboard box, deposited in the post box that sat by the side of the little country road that ran in front of the house we lived in which would then be read in a matter of moments. Over the years, I owned (and cherished!) a fairly large and lovely collection of books. But there was one picture book that always stood out amongst the titles as the most memorable and lovely of tales and that was...
The Cookie Tree
by Jay Williams
Our tale begins in a small medieval village where everything has a place and everything has a purpose. One morning in the wee small hours of the morning, a tree appears in the center of the town with silver bark and golden leaves for no apparent reason. IT doesn't belong there! What could it be doing there? The baker asks as he sees it on his way to bake the day's bread. He calls his wife who calls another. Suspicions run rampant and a crowd quickly gathers. Shall they cut it down? What do they do? What is it for? Then the people of the village realize there are chocolate cookies nestled beneath the golden leaves. What can it mean? They ponder. What is it's purpose? They wonder. Is it poison? Is it a sign? They stand around alarmed with the strangeness of it all, wondering and pondering, concerned over the dangers of the strangeness.
Finally, after a great deal of cogitating, a child steps forward and plucks a cookie from beneath the leaves and considers it for a second. He takes a bite of the cookie, crunches and munches, savoring and flavoring... then smiles brilliantly. It is merely a delicious treat to enjoy! The rest of the children quickly join in and seeing the pleasure (and lack of danger!) the adults at last allow themselves to set their fear of the unknown aside and help finish off the cookies on the tree.
When the next day dawns, the tree is gone! Again questions arise about what it all means. Finally the child who first tasted the cookie speaks up, suggesting that the tree's purpose was to bring enjoyment and since the cookies are all gone, the tree is now gone. And with these final words the town returns to their daily lives, hopefully, the wiser for having eaten from The Cookie Tree.*
*It is possible I have gotten some of the details wrong, I am working from memory and I have not laid eyes on this book in thirty or so years. The story on the whole is accurate however.