The Memory Tree – Fred Neff

The Memory Tree

Fred Neff’s “Calvin and Dad” book series draws from real life fatherhood experiences with his toddler son, Calvin. The Memory Tree is the first in the series, recounting some actual events from Christmas 2007. The storyline, told in first person through the eyes of a toddler, features young Calvin, who delights in riding in Dad’s pickup truck to Big Jim’s Farm in search of two trees, a tall one for the house and a short one to be planted in the back yard, called a Memory Tree. As a toddler, Calvin is quite the humorous helper, and together, he and his Dad transform this Christmas, because of a Memory Tree, into a tradition they will recapture for years to come.

Age range: preK-3rd grade, ages 4-10 years

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“The Memory Tree was a great way to truly invite the reader to imagine what your holiday traditions with Calvin are a nice traditional family story.”

– Sue LaBella, Program Coordinator, Pfizer Kids, New London, CT

“I loved the concept of this story. I found that, as a toddler teacher, I particularly enjoyed the flow of rhyming lines. I also found myself wanting more details about the ‘memory’ surrounding the act of tending to the small tree.”

– Hope Wread, Toddler Lead Teacher, Pfizer Kids, New London, CT

About the Author

Author Fred Neff

The Calvin and Dad children’s book series by Fred Neff stem from real life fatherhood experiences with his toddler son, Calvin. The Memory Tree is the first in the series.

When speaking to children at schools, Fred is often asked how he got started writing. After stating that he learned how to rhyme by listening to songs on the radio, replacing the words with those of his own, he usually gets oohs and aahs of wonder from children in the audience when he adds that it was before television!

After receiving a B.A. in Journalism from San Diego State University, Fred wrote numerous articles as a Contributing Editor for San Diego Home/Garden Magazine before turning the pages in life to eventually set down roots in Southeastern Connecticut, where he has lived and worked for the past three decades.

Fred believes that in every adversity there is a seed of opportunity of equal or greater
value. From the adversity of a divorce, he found a seed of opportunity in writing stories about the adventures that he and his young son, Calvin, have shared. This led to publishing numerous books either about Calvin or as a collaborative effort, with Calvin challenging Dad to write stories for him, such as the fireman’s favorite rescue story, Farnsworth the Firehose and Taylor Grief, and a holiday favorite, Can Gi-Normus the Tow Truck and Squawky Palone Save Christmas?

About the Illustrator

Illustrator Jack Montmeat

Jack Montmeat is a full-time portrait painter and illustrator working out of his studio in East Lyme, CT. He trained at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and received his BFA from The Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH. To see more of his work, please go to his website at:

From the author: “Jack’s introspective and patient approach to the numerous photo shoot sessions with Calvin and me led to the inclusion of seemingly distracting moments to become major illustrations in the storyline. A great example of this happened at Big Jim’s Farm. Upon arriving, Calvin instantly saw a red wagon and would not let go of it at all during the photo shoot. I stuck a crooked ‘memory tree’ in the wagon to give him something to tote around, and Jack caught the moment. This illustration became the cover of the book!”