The Story of Tree and Cloud
by Daryl McCullough
Archway Publishing

"Dear friends never fully leave us when they die."

McCullough tells the tale of an old live oak tree named Folie and all of the beautiful things she has seen and experienced in her many years. After several days and nights of rain, Folie is surprised to meet a new friend beneath her: Puddle. Folie and Puddle's friendship grows stronger as the seasons change until Puddle eventually dries up and disappears. Folie is deeply saddened by this and doesn't understand why her dear friend was taken away from her. Suddenly Puddle reappears above Folie in the form of a cloud, and Folie realizes that her friend never really left after all.

Through this insightful extended metaphor, McCullough explains the complicated ideas of life and death in an uplifting way that his young audience can understand. For example, when Folie finds that Puddle has turned into a light, happy cloud, she recognizes that Puddle is in a much better place. She explains to those who miss Puddle that she still lives among them, watching over them from the sky.

Not only do the author's readers learn complex concepts such as life and death through his story, but they are also taught about the beauty of nature. Throughout the tale, McCullough expertly illustrates the life cycle of caterpillars, the way the trees use carbon dioxide and oxygen to clean the pollution out of the air, and ultimately how clouds are formed from water and produce rain. Throughout the story, this successful integration of nature lessons keeps his curious readers engaged and wanting to learn more.

Return to USR Home