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  • Published: 2 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143786733
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $24.99

One Tree

A touching and uplifting story about love, change and the importance of the natural environment in all our lives.

One tall tree on the mountain once marked Grandfather’s farm. Now there is a busy city and Grandfather lives with us in our apartment.

Once he told stories but now he stays silent. Until one day, in the city market, I find something precious . . . something that brings Grandfather’s memories alive again.

  • Published: 2 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143786733
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $24.99

About the authors

Christopher Cheng

Christopher Cheng dwells in an inner-city Sydney terrace and writes fiction and non-fiction for children full time. He taught in city and outback schools for a number of years and at Taronga Zoo. He is Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and has a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature. He presents to people of all ages at schools and festivals worldwide.

His many picture books include Bear and Rat, lovingly written for his amazing wife Bini, and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, which has been published in many countries worldwide. One Tree, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, was shortlisted in the 2020 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and is a CBCA Notable Book. One Child, illustrated by Steven Woolman, won the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Picture Books (Australia) and the Skipping Stones Honour Book (USA). Christopher also worked with Sarah Davis on the critically acclaimed picture book Sounds Spooky which won an Aurealis Award in the picture book category and is a CBCA Notable Book.

Christopher is often heard to announce that he has the best job in the world!

Bruce Whatley

Since 1992 Bruce Whatley has written and/or illustrated more than 90 children’s picture books. His internationally award-winning titles include his first two books, The Ugliest Dog in the World and Looking for Crabs. He often writes with his wife Rosie Smith and has also had much success with the Diary of a Wombat series created with Jackie French.

Bruce uses a variety of illustration mediums including gouache, pen and ink, pencil, oils, watercolour and more recently CGI software. Tin Toys, The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas and Ruben are classic examples of his search for new ways to create images.

Bruce and Rosie live on the south coast of New South Wales.

Praise for One Tree

Grandfather used to live happily on a farm, nearest the tallest tree on a mountain. Now he lives with his family in a small apartment in a crowded city and he is silent and sad. When his grandson, the narrator, takes home a tiny tree he’s rescued from a footpath, Grandfather is at first dismissive, but gradually becomes involved in helping his grandson tend to the tree. Christopher Cheng’s Chinese heritage informs this book and it’s a privilege for us to be included as readers. One Tree acknowledges the old ways while being realistic, but not negative, about modern life. It shows there are always possibilities for change and it emphasises how lucky we are to have elders in our lives—and how important it is to listen to them. Bruce Whatley’s illustrations are wonderful. Whatley uses a new technique that has the appearance of linocut pictures, although it has been achieved digitally. Not only do the pictures extend the text, but they deepen it, and it’s this technique that gives the story an extra layer of interest and meaning. We follow Grandfather’s life, with its obvious changes, but we also see that renewal and regeneration are possible for both people and their environments. This is an outstanding, life-affirming book that will surely stand the test time. It is recommended for those aged five and up.

Louise Pfanner, Books + Publishing

This is a beautiful narrative of love, family, resilience and nature. One senses that there could be a very personal back story to this new book and Bruce Whatley’s stunning illustrations capture perfectly the sense of Chinese culture in a linocut style. This is a splendid picture book which I would predict will be firmly and rightfully placed in award lists in the coming year. Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards

Sue Warren, OZ-TL network of educators

Awards & recognition

NSW Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted  •  2020  •  Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature

CBCA Book of the Year Awards

Notable Book  •  2020  •  Picture Book of the Year

Discover more

One Tree Trailer

One Tree a children's book by Christopher Cheng One Tree; illustrator Bruce Whatley, a Penguin book A touching and uplifting story about love, change and the importance of the natural environment in all our lives. https://chrischeng.com/one-tree.html SHORTLISTED for the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/awards/patricia-wrightson-prize-childrens-literature/2020-shortlisted-one-tree-christopher-cheng-and

Creating new work with Bruce Whatley

Words from Bruce Whatley about his creative process working on One Tree

Teachers' notes