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Beyond the Pawpaw Trees (Anna Lavinia #1)

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  182 Ratings  ·  36 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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Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Walker - Stier
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Liz Fricke
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite childhood story.
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ja, nog steeds geweldig! Heeft hij niet meer boeken geschreven?
Linda Aull
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was so whimsical and enchanting. everyone here loved it.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So charming and indeed quite enchanting.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved these books as a child! Such wonderful little stories that have stayed with me for decades! I actually bough this one,and The Silver Nutmeg, so I can still visit with Anna Livinia all these decades later!
Shonna Froebel
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Kathleen Hulton
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Catalina Gonzalez
My favorite childhood book! How i wish i could het it and read it again!
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely little piece of fantasy. I look forward to reading the rest of his books.
Gina House
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very sweet and lovely book with imagination, magic and heart. So glad I found this!
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was at St. Joseph's School - probably sometime between 3rd and 5th grades. I loved it so much.
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.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple but charming story that I would have loved as a child.
short and fun. a lovely read.
Holli Diohep
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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