Borne out of a love for the art of carving wood, Rich Mullaney shares a story honoring the cottonwood tree in his children's book, Me the Tree.
Me the Tree opens as a young seedling grows awareness of its surroundings. As it breaks out of its hard shell, it becomes aware of its branches growing. It sprouts from the ground and meets the sunshine. It continues to grow as it looks up to the sky. The little cottonwood grows into a tree, experiencing the seasons of the forest and the seasons of its life. As it continues to grow, it forms a unity with Angels, Tree Fairies, and Wood Spirits.
Through the book's delightful illustrations and charming narration, readers are introduced to the physical transformation of the cottonwood tree. Its story as it sprouts from a seedling to a full-grown tree is presented in a way that little children can quickly grasp and appreciate.
Mullaney has written about a subject he is well versed in and has a personal connection to. After retirement, Mullaney expanded his carving hobby. When he carves, he goes to his pile of cottonwood and gains inspiration from the wood themselves. He mostly carves angels, fairy houses, and wood spirits. Often, people would come up to him and say, "The wood must talk to you". Now, the beings that he carves come alive in this story. Through Me the Tree, Mullaney wants to share his appreciation for his surroundings, both the physical and the spiritual.
Me the Tree is for children, awakening their curiosity about other living things and learning how some trees grow and develop. The story of the cottonwood tree is also a tool for parents and educators to introduce the topics of transformation, spirituality, and consciousness for our natural surroundings.