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Beyond the Pawpaw Trees (Anna Lavinia #1)

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  30 reviews
It all began on a lavender blue day—the kind of day when anything can happen. It was on such a day that Anna Lavinia’s father saw a double rainbow and went chasing after it. And it is on such a day that she and her cat, Strawberry, set off on their journey beyond the walled garden where the pawpaw trees grow, to a place where the buttercups bloom pink and the laws of gravi ...more
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by NYR Children's Collection (first published 1954)
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Community Reviews

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Txkimmers
"Things close at hand were puzzling. Only when today was rolled up in a little ball and became yesterday could you really begin to understand it." --Anna Lavinia

Have you ever re-read a beloved childhood book, and in re-experiencing all the things about it that you loved especially much as a child, suddenly see yourself in a way you never could have at the time? I had a similarly bittersweet experience reading this suddenly back-in-print book.

Anna Lavinia lives in a charming but utterly isolated
...more
Jessica Walker - Stier
Oct 11, 2008 Jessica Walker - Stier rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women
Recommended to Jessica by: My grandma Jane
I think this is my all time favorite book. I re-read it every few years. I really feel like it helped shape who I am. I still look at the sky to see if it is lavender blue or not.
Jennifer
Beyond beyond. If ever there's a book I've felt right inside of, it's this one. It's a perfect book, even now. The images are "get-lost-in"-able. And the story is something you wish was real and happening to you yourself. It took me years to find it again. And, after a 12-month search, Northshire Books in Vermont found a copy and sent it to me for $100 in 1998. It's been my happiest book both then and ever. (Northshire Books = http://www.northshire.com/)
Melanie Coombes
I had never heard of this book before, perhaps because it was out of print for many years. Then I heard what a wonderful book it was on a book blog. I'd been looking for a "first" chapter book to read aloud to my five year old daughter. It is back in print now, so I ordered a copy.

It is such a charming story. It was written in the 1950's. It is the story of a girl named Anna Lavinia who lives with her mom in a distant house far away from neighbors and the village. When she finally ventures out b
...more
Cheryl
Ok, there's nothing actually wrong with this, but I'm glad my library found it for me (in Utah!) and that I didn't buy it. The thing is, it's not as magical or inventive, or as complexly themed, as Oz or Alice in Wonderland.

It's a brief quest, with some mildly amusing adventures, and everything encountered was too close to real to be 'fantastic.' And at the same time there were mature themes in the background, such as a father who has been absent, leaving behind a very depressed mother, for mos
...more
Nicholas During
Very, very cute book. The line illustrations are wonderful, and it has everything that one needs in a charming children's book: domestic animals with funny names, adventurous and dreamy missing fathers, moody mothers, delightful and helpful relatives living in far-away places, exotic destinations, and, of course, the breaking of Newtownian physics.

I won't say much more about it, but it was very fun and I can't see how any children wouldn't love. The illustrations on the page are wonderful, the
...more
Adam
Beyond the Pawpaw Trees is a perfectly fine nonsense story with an edge of seriousness, concerning a young girl’s first brave and solitary adventure out into the world beyond her home. Brown’s brand of nonsense carries an easy naturalness, is varied and inventive, and is paced so that the book never exhausts itself or the reader with the density of silliness. The book’s flaws are that its vivid adventures aren’t organized into a very memorable story arc and that our protagonist, Anna Lavinia, la ...more
Liz Fricke
I remember reading this as a girl and through my adult years, the images of a gate with a bell, a train and a floating island always stuck with me, but I could remember neither the title nor the author. All I had to go on was that "Paw Paw" was in the name. My mother found it for me - but it was long out of print. So every year I would randomly search the internet hoping for a bargain. Imagine how happy I was to see it back in print at long last. I ordered it posthaste and greedily devoured it. ...more
Allison
My favorite book of all time!

I finally own it, and god did I miss it.

I used to borrow this from the library as a kid and the illustrations and story are enchanting even now.

The best.
Linda
Sep 21, 2007 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is my favorite book from childhood. I have often thought of Anna Lavinia and her journey from Nowhere to Now Here.
Iris
Ja, nog steeds geweldig! Heeft hij niet meer boeken geschreven?
Heather
This is my favorite childhood story.
Shonna Froebel
Another classic from the New York Review Children's Collection is the story of young Anna Lavinia. Anna lives with her mother in a large house with many rooms surrounded by a field of pawpaw trees, enclosed by a wall. Anna's mother spends her days making pawpaw jelly and missing Anna's father. Anna Lavinia misses her father as well, and reads the books he left behind. Anna's mother tells her to "Never believe what you see", but her father left the instruction to "Believe only what you see", and ...more
Kathleen Hulton
The was definitely 5 stars for my six year old, though. It's a relatively simple, sweet adventure story with a strong girl protagonist. I loved the language and appreciated the dry wit and aspects of the story that went above her head (ie Anna lavinia's mother's deep depression). FYI it's got some language that is jarring in 2014, some borderline racist descriptions of "Arabs" and also one of the characters Anna meets along the way is "the fat woman" and is always referred to as "the fat woman," ...more
Melanie
This is a quick read and pretty fun. There is a second book in the series and I will need to read it before I give a full review.
Elizabeth
A lovely little piece of fantasy. I look forward to reading the rest of his books.
Laura
I read this over and over again as a child, and pored over the delicately detailed drawings. For years it was out of print, and I was unable to locate a copy in print. Recently the most excellent New York Review Children's Collection brought a number of great old titles back into print, Beyond the Pawpaw Trees included. I was so excited to order a copy. I was not disappointed. It is still as lovely, sweet and enchanting as it was when I was a child. Enjoy!
Kathryn
A very quaint charming story of a little girl, Anna Lavinia who loved lavender blue days. There really are pawpaw trees and they do produce a fruit which just added to the adventures of the story.
Christina
One of my favourite books from when I was a kid. I checked it out of the library and read it over and over again. Something about Anna Lavinia's mother, with her selective believing of certain things and determined ignoring of other things, and Anna Lavinia's somewhat rebellious reactions, struck a chord. Then the adventure of going off by yourself into the desert! And the very charming illustrations by the author just add to the whole thing.
DeAnne
Edit: My darling husband got me a copy for my birthday, and so I plan to reread it, and hope that it is as magical as I remember.


I loved this book as a young girl, and have been unable to find a copy under $500 as an adult. My mom gave away my entire collection while I was in college, and this is one of the books I've never been able to replace. So tragic.
Kaci
Was my mother's book, I apparently lost it which is unfortunate b/c it now sells for no less than 200$ on amazon. I still claim that the book will turn up somewhere. I'd like to re-read it.
Valerie Stonesifer
This was my favorite book as a kid! I must have checked it out of the library 20 times. I wish it was easier to get a hold of now; I would love for my daughters to read it.
Helen
I read this a zillion years ago... a nice story about a little girl who was a bit extraordinary. I recommend it to any one between 8 and 80. A lovely story!
Jessica
I read this book when I was at St. Joseph's School - probably sometime between 3rd and 5th grades. I loved it so much.
Gina House
A very sweet and lovely book with imagination, magic and heart. So glad I found this!
Catalina Gonzalez
My favorite childhood book! How i wish i could het it and read it again!
Holli Diohep
years ago i read and reread this book. perfect escape for a little girl!
Stephanie
3.5 stars

Paige and I thought this was a fun book.
Johanna
My all-time favorite book when I was a kid.
Charlie
short and fun. a lovely read.
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Palmer Brown was born in Chicago and attended Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author and illustrator of five books for children, including Beyond the Pawpaw Trees and its sequel, The Silver Nutmeg; Cheerful; and Hickory.

About Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, his first published book, Brown said: “If it has any moral at all, it is hoped that it will always be a deep secret between
...more
More about Palmer Brown...

Other Books in the Series

Anna Lavinia (2 books)
  • The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby
The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby Hickory Cheerful: A Picture Story Something for Christmas

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