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Beyond the Pawpaw Trees: The Story of Anna Lavinia (Anna Lavinia #1)

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Beyond the Pawpaw Trees is a tour through a land as strange and wonderful as Oz, filled with people as delightfully batty as any in Alice’s looking glass. It is a place to which you will want to return again and again, to read of Anna Lavinia’s adventures and to marvel over author and illustrator Palmer Brown’s intricate, sugar-spun drawings.

It all began on a lavender b
Hardcover, 121 pages
Published 1954 by Harper & Brothers
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Doctor Glas by Hjalmar SöderbergThe Third Policeman by Flann O'BrienBeyond the Pawpaw Trees by Palmer BrownThe Old Wives' Tale by Arnold BennettLost Classics by Michael Ondaatje
The Lost Classics list
3rd out of 62 books — 5 voters
Thursday's Child by Noel StreatfeildJane-Emily by Patricia ClappFog Magic by Julia L. SauerMarianne Dreams by Catherine StorrA Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively
Obscure Children's Vintage Gems
175th out of 363 books — 90 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 390)
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Nov 05, 2015 smetchie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this with my daughters and the four stars are from them. I'd give it three. I might have only given it two except for the Throbby. The Throbby is responsible for one star all on his own just because it's fantastic to imagine taking a trip with a stubby tailed sort of lizard, very plump, and covered with pink fur. Who doesn't want one of those? It sounds so cute, and also quite dirty if you think about it.

It bugs me when the parents in children's stories are horrible and no one acknowledg
Mar 21, 2012 Txkimmers rated it it was amazing
"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
Jessica Walker - Stier
Oct 11, 2008 Jessica Walker - Stier rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 15, 2012 Maxwell rated it it was amazing
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 =
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
Nicholas During
Oct 10, 2011 Nicholas During rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2011 Adam rated it liked it
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
Mar 26, 2013 Liz Fricke rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 13, 2007 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myfavorites
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.
Sep 21, 2007 Linda rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 15, 2012 Iris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ja, nog steeds geweldig! Heeft hij niet meer boeken geschreven?
Dec 28, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite childhood story.
Older children's stories are the best. I don't tend to like older literature (too clunky and messy!), but when it's for children, it's the best. Sweet and gentle without being boring; none of that thought process that kids will only like a book if its filled with ACTION and stupid SLANG and ugly FONTS and kids being mean to each other, etc.

So Beyond the Pawpaw Trees is one of those nice children's books written in the fifties that both thinks higher of and understands children better than many o
Shonna Froebel
Dec 10, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2016 Miranda rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books as a child, along with The Silver Nutmeg, also by Palmer Brown, also with Anna Lavinia as the heroine. These two books are magical in a completely individual way; nothing you could ever imagine without reading them. There is nothing hackneyed or slick about them, and the illustrations (by the author) are charming and express the book perfectly. Anna Lavinia has various adventures in a world that seems like ours but is just slightly, enchantingly askew. In this b ...more
Kathleen Hulton
Jan 08, 2014 Kathleen Hulton rated it really liked it
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
I'm not really sure what I expected from this book, but I know I was disappointed. It is what it says in the description, it just sounded more appealing to me than it actually was. I personally only truly enjoyed the chapters before Anna Lavinia went out on her epic journey. If the book had continued like that and was all about her strange home situation and everyday life, I think it would've been a much better story. As it was, it felt like a cheap rip-off of Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard o ...more
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.
Dec 10, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
A lovely little piece of fantasy. I look forward to reading the rest of his books.
Jun 29, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-books, favorites
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!
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.
Jul 20, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 28, 2010 DeAnne rated it it was amazing
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 $500 as an adult. My mom gave away my entire collection while I was in college, and this is one of the books I've never been able to replace. So tragic.
May 28, 2008 Kaci rated it it was amazing
Was my mother's book, I apparently lost it which is unfortunate b/c it now sells for no less than 200$ on amazon. I still claim that the book will turn up somewhere. I'd like to re-read it.
Valerie Stonesifer
Aug 26, 2011 Valerie Stonesifer rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 25, 2007 Helen rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 05, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2011 Gina House rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very sweet and lovely book with imagination, magic and heart. So glad I found this!
Catalina Gonzalez
Aug 13, 2012 Catalina Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
My favorite childhood book! How i wish i could het it and read it again!
Holli Diohep
Nov 24, 2012 Holli Diohep rated it it was amazing
years ago i read and reread this book. perfect escape for a little girl!
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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 about Palmer Brown...

Other Books in the Series

Anna Lavinia (2 books)
  • The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby

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