What Will The Tree Be? (Short Story Slam: Children’s Lit)

“What will this grow up to be?”
Sarah asked with a smile.
“Will it grow big and strong?
Will it take a long while?”
If I hold it in my hand, and show it the sun
Will it grow a lot of feet and run, run, run?
If the soil is soft and the roots are fed with dew
Will it grow up and play a harmonica or kazoo?
If I put it in a pot, will it grow this way and that?
Would it grow up to be happy, small and trim, not fat?
If was sitting there, alone on a table
Would it pine for something more, if it was able?
I know, I know…it will have lots of friends
They will grow up all together
In this garden that I’ll tend.
They sing all day, and rest all night
I’ll keep them close by
They’ll never leave my sight.
If it was stolen by a big old  UFO,
Would it grow up weird and have an orange glow?
If it was moving and mooing and calling out my name,
Would my tree ever really REALLY be the same?
If it was hit all over by some outer space like rays
Would it grow all big and furry, and refuse to play?
If it had one gazillion branches, and twice as many leaves
Would  grandma have to  knit a sweater with all those sleeves?
If it grows up really big and really strong
Would it live a good life, nothing with it wrong?
If it stood way up high above the ground
Would you be able to sit atop it and see all around?
I love my little tree
And I know it loves me
I wonder when it grows up
What exactly will it be.
I love my little tree.
******************                 *************************                     **********************            *********************

“Write a story or a poem based on the image you see,” were the only instructions given for Bluebell Books: Thursday Short Story Slam.  The image they chose was the little girl that starts and ends my “picture book.”

I’m finding that I’m enjoying the challenges a lot, as they “force” me to work within certain parameters. So, yes, no one dies in this story. 🙂

Hope you like it. What I’m curious about: share it with a kid(s), and let me know if they like it or not. Thanks.

btw: sorry about the formatting. I can’t figure out why it’s doing what it’s doing.


48 responses »

  1. Stuart, what a wonderful picture story. It will appeal to the minds and imaginations of young children. I hope it will be ok to read this for my class when I return to school.


  2. This is awesome, for both children and for adults. A great way to explain growing up to kids and also about nurturing. My niece related to it and loved the part, “But… If it was stolen by a big old UFO”. The poem tickles their imagination while the visuals add perspective and help kids to visualize the meaning. You may not imagine yourself as a poet,but in this area, you’ve done an excellent job of disproving your self-impression.


    • Thank you Penelope. Glad to hear the kids enjoying this. Part of it, to me, HAS to be done in voices.

      As to the poet, I never really “get” poetry at times, so I astound myself with this. Thank you.


  3. you got outstanding poetry talent, extraordinary imaginations.

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  4. Terrific! I love trees! I cannot wait to read it to my daughter who loves aliens, UFOs, and outer space!
    Thank you Stuart!!


  5. They liked it, Stu. The bit about knitting a sweater for it got some giggles, and we branched out into a discussion of a local tree that was “yarn bombed”. They also offered other things the tree could be, like a Christmas tree or a home for a squirrel. Which makes this story a nice little teaching tool as well, because you could go from there and talk about all of the ways we use trees in our lives – for food, shelter, shade, and beauty.


  6. Pingback: Thursday Poets Rally Week 48 (July 14-20) | Promising Poets' Poetry Cafe

  7. Reminds me of a cross between Shel and Dr Seuss – very imaginative, which kids love. As it turns out, tomorrow is my first day back at summer school so I’ll get you some feedback! :))


  8. Very nice! I’d like to read it to my son, but I also find myself seeing him when looking at the first (and last) picture–not as the kid, but as the tree. For me, it really captures that sense of nurturing a child to adulthood, being able to provide for it and seeing so much potential but ultimately not knowing what it will become.



  9. This is typical “what if” childhood curiosity … and a child-like imagination that knows no boundaries … very good interpretation of the prompt !


  10. Well my three 6 yr old grands just left for the movie but I will leave this window open and read it to them when they get back. I loved it!
    (If you are having problems formatting posts with photos in them, then you will know why I left wordpress for blogger…it is much more user-friendly for someone like me who likes to post photos with text.) 😀


    • Thanks Cath. I’m curious how they react to it. This was also the first time I’ve had (1) to use so many photos in a post and (2) had any problems at all. So..I’m still a fan of WordPress.


  11. I don’t have any “litte ‘uns” at home, but this “big ‘un” certainly enjoyed the fancy-free child-like dreaming verse! Our granddaughter is only 10 mos. old, but I’ll read it to her today when I see her. I let you know what she thinks! :mrgreen:


  12. I like this a lot. Children’s poetry is hard. You have to be simple without being simplistic and you walked that line wonderfully. Such a flight of fancy. Kids love to sit and wonder about things like this. I think the last stanza is really strong as a conclusion. I wonder if it might work well to put it at the beginning too, so that it kind of creates the effect of arriving right back where you started. Anyway, feel free to look at some of my children’s poetry and let me know what you think. 🙂


    • Danny, thank you so very much. I will take a look and see if the repetition/bookends work. I know that I do repetition a lot with young kids, and reincorporating things is important in Improv, which I also do. Great suggestions. I’ll take a look at yours soon.


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