Grandma Climbs a Tree

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The poem ‘Grandma Climbs a Tree’ portrays Ruskin Bond’s love for his family. The storyline is as follows: Ruskin Bond, in this poem tells us how his grandmother had a passion for climbing trees from a very young age and how she could climb trees till the age of sixty-two! The only problem was that Bond’s family was scared that one day, she would fall. Once when everyone except Grandma was out of town, the old lady climbs a tree but is unable to come down. After being ‘rescued’ as Bond puts it, the doctor advises her rest. However, Grandma is not able to live without a tree, so she tells Bond’s father to build a tree-house. Accordingly, Bond and his father build a tree-house and this way, Bond and his Grandma spend evenings sitting in the tree- house, drinking sherry. This poem shows the unconditional love Bond has towards his family. It shows his ability to enjoy unusual events and actions.

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Concept Map

Text of the poem

Idea of the poem

Core Meaning

Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli in 1934 and now lives in Mussoorie, India. "Grandma Climbs a Tree" shows Bond's great ability to enjoy unusual events and actions: My grandmother was a genius. You's like to know why? Because she could climb trees. Spreading or high, She'd be up their branches in a trice. And mind you, When last she climbed a tree, she was sixty-two. Ever since childhood, she'd had this gift For being happier in a tree than in a lift; And though, as years went by, she would be told That climbing trees should stop when one grew old- And that growing old should be gone about gracefully- She'd laugh and say,'Well, I'll grow old disgracefully, I can do it better.' And we had to agree; For in all the garden there wasn't a tree She hadn't been up, at one time or another (Having learned to climb from a loving brother When she was six) - but it was feared by all That one day she'd have a terrible fall. The outcome was different- while we were in town She climbed a tree and couldn't come down. After the rescue, The doctor took Granny's temperature and said, 'I strongly recommend a quiet week in bed.' We sighed with relief and tucked her up well. Poor Granny! For her, it was like a brief season in hell. Confined to her bedroom, while every breeze Whispered of summer and dancing leaves. But she held her peace till she felt stronger. Then sat up and said,'I'll lie here no longer!' And she called for my father and told him undaunted That a house in a treetop was what she now wanted. My Dad knew his duties. He said, 'That's all right - You'll have what you want, dear. I'll start work tonight'. With my expert assistance, he soon finished the chore: Made her a tree-house with windows and a door. So Granny moved up, and now every day I climb to her room with glasses and a tray. She sits there in state and drinks sherry with me,. Upholding her right to reside in a tree.

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Alternative interpretations

Context of the poem

About the Author

Ruskin Bond (born 19 May 1934) is an Indian author of British descent. The Indian Council for Child Education recognised his pioneering role in the growth of children's literature in India, and awarded him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, given by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Literature. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014. He now lives with his adopted family in Landour, near Mussoorie.

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Transacting the text

Language appreciation

Meaning making

Pictures/ video clips are an interesting way of assisting students to comprehend a poem. A picture helps in creating a visual memory and can also help in understanding new words.


Figures of speech

A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, or personification. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetorical figure or a locution. To know more click

Additional resources


Ask the learners to write a short paragraph using the hints given below.


  • What is the poem about?
  • Which is the most striking image and why?