Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! illus. by Uma Krishnaswamy. 28p. Groundwood. 2012. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-130-4.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 3—A boy finds a sapling on the dirt path that runs through his village in what appears to be India and protects it with a ring of stones. As the tree grows, villagers reroute the path around it, while bikers and oxcart and motor scooter drivers cry, "Out of the way! Out of the way!" The tree continues to grow, providing a home for animals and a meeting place for people beneath its branches. A city grows beyond the village, the dirt path becomes a paved road for cars and trucks, the boy becomes a man with his own children. Through the years, people learn to carry on their activities "out of the way" of the tree rather than sacrificing it to make way for themselves. They even take time, occasionally, from rushing "from here to there and back again" to sit under it and listen to the old stories. Krishnaswamy's charming folk-art illustrations, executed in mixed media, combine black-and-white drawings with blocks of color. Alert readers will notice that many of the orange outline drawings on the endpapers are echoed throughout the book, in color or in pen and ink. The road cuts through every page, either in a continuous stretch or as winding patches carrying people's footprints as they circumvent the tree. There is much to see and enjoy in the small paintings and drawings that make up each scene. This delightful story illustrates how tradition and modern progress can coexist in a way that benefits everyone.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
This look at urban development manages to stay cheery and upbeat as an Indian village grows into a city. Traffic of all kinds, animals, and people keep moving on the road past a small tree that grows through the decades and retains its importance as a meeting place. Traditional and contemporary imagery is artfully combined in black line drawings and swaths of bright colors.

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