A PARTRIDGE IN THE WE TREE, the follow-up to THE ME TREE (Penguin Workshop, 2021), will be hitting shelves near you on October 11th, 2022!
Bear is back and this time his home, “The We Tree,” is full of holiday cheer… for everyone but Bear. With guests like four flocking birds, three French squirrels, two spruced-up cats, and a partridge in the We Tree, will Bear finally find the holiday spirit?
I was so excited to create a companion book for The Me Tree. Writing a sequel was unique in that the characters were already there. It was a matter of creating a completely different narrative from the first book. Around the holidays, the idea came to me when we were getting ready for my family members to arrive for Christmas (see the image below of our Christmas decor :D). We figured out where to put everyone, and I had the epiphany; a whole house full of family for Christmas would happen in The We Tree!
In book one, Bear moved into a treehouse in an attempt to be alone. But unannounced to him, the tree was already home to several uninvited guests. After becoming upset and asking all the animals to leave, Bear realizes what he had and invites them home. Together, they transform The Me Tree into The We Tree. I figured all of these roommates should have their families visit for Christmas!
I needed to figure out a way to make this concept fit the early reader format. I kept thinking about the list of animals. Book one listed 13 animals that popped in and out of The Me Tree. That's when the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" came to mind. I thought it hilarious to spoof on those lyrics and swap out the animals in the song for the animals from the story. I knew a story like that could include many sight words and a few more difficult words to challenge readers to learn something new. I knew I wanted to incorporate some funny incidents that have happened during my family holidays, so that's where the scene of the tangled lights comes from below :) I started sketching, and the concepts of family, the holiday, and the early reader characteristics began coming together.
I moved on to final art, and just like the holidays, I was a little sad to see the work come to an end. But that means I can look forward to holding the finished book within the next few months! I feel so blessed to do what I love and can't wait to share this book with the world! The We Tree animals (and their house guests) will be visiting a shelf near you this October, just in time for Christmas!