Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
First Published: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Animals, Friendship, Love, Family, Acceptance
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.
You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.
I cannot wait to give my copy of this book to a kid in need of a wonderful read.
It is absolutely beautiful. It’s poetic without being pretentious and narrated by a tree older than any existing human. And yet, this tree is more humane than anyone I know.
The tree is an observer. It philosophizes about life and shares his thoughts with his (not always) delightful animal tenants. It doesn’t act, because it cannot move like a human can.
But the tree feels compelled to do something, or ‘‘say’’ something rather, when a new family moves into one of the two houses in front of it and some people express their unhappiness about having Muslims for neighbors.
It’s a deeply moving story about love, friendship and acceptance, as well as the importance of preserving nature that harms us in no way. Like one of the animals mentioned in the story, why would you kill something that literary gives you life – oxygen?
Not only that, but this is a page-turner. It’s short but still full of substance. Plus it contains great illustrations that help visualize scenes and add to the lyrical atmosphere.
A must buy, read, review.
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