the gumdrop tree + gumdrops are fabulous

thegumdroptreepicturebookThe Gumdrop Tree by Elizabeth Spurr, illustrated by Julia Gorton (1994).


The Gumdrop Tree is told from the first person, so we’re getting this little polka dot girl’s point of view.  She tells the story. And that’s important.







 click image(s) to enlarge.

It’s the story of how her father gave her gumdrops and they looked so sweet and sparkly that she couldn’t eat them. “Because then they would be all gone.”




So she planted the gumdrops in the garden. She’d once planted a peach tree from a seed, so why not a gumdrop tree? Right?!



There’s something so straightforward about this book despite an element of wonder. That there aren’t any contractions is just one example of its straightforwardness. But it’s everything—the language, the story, the airbrush illustrations. It reminds me of a fairy tale that way.

thegumdroptreeIt’s especially fairy tale-like when the girl tells us her gumdrop tree was finally in bloom, with sparkly and sugary candies!



Those gumdrops, the ones she’d grown (wink, wink), she ate. All of them, every single color until they were gone.


And then you’re left with this last wordless page. And it makes you wonder, “What are those strings about?” and “Who could’ve tied those gumdrops to the branches?” Personally, I’d look to the guy in the white sailor hat and his wife, but I’m not the final word on the subject.

As a bonus, illustrator Julie Gorton provided us with this photo of her daughter dressed as The Gumdrop Tree Girl for Halloween in 1995. Handmade costume and rag doll to go with it!  Amazing!

ivy gum drop

My favorite part is her Doc Martens!


Just looking at gumdrops makes me happy. I mean, remember playing CANDYLAND?


And look at those gumdrop people Restless Risa created!!! The gumdrop shoes! The half-gumdrop cap sleeves! I could gaze on these for a very long time and be perfectly content. Glad as a gumdrop even.


There’s a whole gumdrop forest over at Lindsay Ann Bakes. (And there really are gumdrop mushrooms in the wild—they’re gorgeous.)


Artists Pip & Pop made this piece, ‘Bing Bong, Big Bang” in 2011 and it’s made of all sorts of confection wonderfulness (and other stuff).


The most psychedelic candy I’ve ever seen and I love the shapes and colors. Sugar is a staple in all of Pip & Pop’s work.


For the science minded, there’s The Homeschool Scientist‘s gumdrop engineering structure to try.


Or, the chemical elements gone gumdrop at Elaine Vickers‘s blog.

9 Responses to the gumdrop tree + gumdrops are fabulous

  1. Deirdre O'Sullivan says:

    Hi Danielle,
    Goody goody gumdrops! What a sweet story – but not syrupy sweet in a cloying, sentimental way – it struck just the right note. Kids have always had an obsession with lollies growing on trees – I remember when I was 4, and for a whole week I watered my Mum’s white rose bush with raspberry lemonade in the hope that those boring white roses would turn bright pink – oh, the shattering disappointment when it didn’t work! It did start an ant plague in the garden, but that’s another story…! I do love your enthusiasm for picture books – I’ve always thought the best picture books make beautiful sense in a crazy kind of way….
    P.S. ; (We don’t call them gumdrops in Australia – we call them Jelly tots!)
    Toodlepip! from Deirdre O’Sullivan
    Melbourne, Australia.

  2. The vocabulary and sentence structure in this book makes me think of early readers, rather than a picture book.

    I love how the parents support their daughter’s imagination, but I think I’d prefer the illustration without the “pointers” where the parents are looking at the sprout. I can see kids really enjoying the idea of growing a gumdrop tree and wanting to read this over and over.

    Now about your pinterests, I’m feeling sweet just looking a them!

  3. I have always preferred gumdrops over jellybeans and now I know why. What a delightful picture book!

  4. Dana Carey says:

    Delicious! Thanks for the eye candy!!

  5. Yay!

    I loved Candy Land! I mean I loved Candy Land more than anything on the planet. The game was kept in my cousin’s house. She still talks about the countless hours that we spent jumping over gumdrops.



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