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Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

Written by Uma Krishnaswami

Illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy

  • 28 Pages
  • 9781554982103
  • Reading age from 4 to 7
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Lifestyles / City Life
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / General



Publication Date April 01, 2012

Selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Book List

A young boy spots a baby tree growing in the middle of a dusty path in his village. He carefully places rocks around it as the local mango seller rushes past shouting, "Out of the way! Out of the way!" As the tree grows bigger, people and animals traverse the path until it becomes a lane, flowing like a river around the tree. Over time, the lane becomes a road, and a young man crossing the road with his children remembers the baby tree from long ago. By the time he is an old man, the tree has become a giant. The city traffic continues to rattle past, noisier and busier than ever, but sometimes the great tree works its magic, and people just stop, and listen.

In this simple, lyrical story, a wide-spreading tree and a busy road grow simultaneously, even as time passes and the footsteps of people and animals give way to speeding cars, buses and trucks. The illustrations, in pen-and-ink with vibrant blocks of color, have a classic folk-art feel.

The author and illustrator, who really do share the same name (except for the last letter!), have always wanted to do a book together.

Selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Book List 2013


Uma Krishnaswami
Uma Krishnaswami has written many highly acclaimed children’s books, from picture books to middle-grade novels to retellings of classic tales and myths. Her books include The Grand Plan to Fix Everything (Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred reviews), Out of the Way! Out of the Way! (Kirkus and School Library Journal starred reviews), The Girl of the Wish Garden (Kirkus starred review) and, most recently, The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger.

Uma Krishnaswamy
Uma Krishnaswamy divides her time between illustrating picture books and teaching art to young adults. She has illustrated many books, including A Dollop of Ghee and A Pot of Wisdom, Dancing on Walls and The Boastful Centipede and Other Creatures in Verse. She enjoys mixing styles of art from all over the world, but her main inspiration comes from the rich art and craft tradition of India. Her illustrations in Out of the Way! Out of the Way! are a blend of different folk styles. "I think the end result is a happy mix of black and white and colour, which reflects the beauty, chaos and confusion that is India," Uma says. She lives in Chennai, India.


"The message to stop and smell the roses (or enjoy the tree) comes through effectively as spreads become more and more saturated with imagery that crowds out white space." Kirkus Book Reviews

"Groundwood adds yet another superior title to their long list of imaginative picture books. An accidental kind of learning occurs when reading Out of the Way! Out of the Way! — and isn’t that the best kind?" CM Magazine

"A great book to use as a tie-in to environmental units as well as multicultural connections" SLM

"There is much to see and enjoy in the small paintings and drawings that make up each scene. This delightful story illustrates how tradition and modern progress can coexist in a way that benefits everyone." SLJ