Sorry for the late reply! I understand what you mean now, but as far as I understand react, this is not exactly correct :)
React does not render the tree of components "top-to-bottom" so to speak, but rather creates a virtual-dom data structure which is then rendered to the screen. React contains a "scheduler" which decides when to do the actual rendering.
So, the cycle that you described, would rather look more like:
currentlyRenderedComponent = parent component
currentlyRenderedComponent === undefined
currentlyRenderedComponent = child component
Dan Abramov (from the react team) has written a blog post about the react rendering model, which I think describes what I'm trying to say in more depth and perhaps more eloquently :)
Here's the section that is relevant to your question: overreacted.io/react-as-a-ui-runti...
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