Friday, March 23, 2018

Cultivating Living Beauty: A Tree for Peter

by Kate Seredy

I found this on a blog post (unfortunately long forgotten) of Advent read-aloud books. Kate Seredy's writing is as beautiful and lyrical as always, even when describing the wretched conditions of small Peter, a squatter with his mother in an abandoned house in a garbage dump.
Then they were floating on the shining little waves, small Peter and his friend, with Pal between them. Peter's heart was bursting with the Sunday feeling. He had no words to go with the way he felt; all the words he knew seemed dull and gray. The Sunday feeling was bright as the sunshine and sharp as the little waves around the boat. It would not stay down but spread into Peter's cheeks, making them pink and hot; it crept into his eyes, making them shine like stars, and finally it burst out into a laughing sentence:
"The sun is dancing inside me, Mr. Peter!"
In the book, big Peter appears only to small Peter with gifts of time and beauty and life (a tree). Small Peter accepts these gifts and transforms them into renewed life for the entire community. It's sweet and touching, if a little simplistic in its description of people lifting themselves out of poverty. Even so, I think it will make a lovely read-aloud for us so it's on the list for Advent 2018.

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