Bertolt by Jacques Goldstyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First Published: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
Recommended Age: 6+
Genres & Themes: Picture Books, Children’s, Environment, Love, Death
This book is about the imagination and the wonderful ways in which we nurture ourselves in the process of becoming who we are, and because Bertolt dies in a winter’s storm, it is also a book about finitude and loss, sorrow and acceptance.
This is an enchanting book.
I fell under its spell the moment I opened it. It is sweet, quiet, charming and heartfelt.
Bertolt, to my surprise, is a tree. The boy in the story isn’t even named. His universe revolves around Bertolt. He may not have human friends, and he may be picked on by other children, but he does have one good thing: the beautiful Bertolt who offers the boy shelter and a different kind of love.
Incredibly enough, while the boy is never named, he is never a stranger to us readers. He enjoys talking about what he sees in his town – he is an observer. He also talks about what brings him joy. He doesn’t ask for much and is happy with what he is given…
This is why Bertolt is such an important part of his life. No one cares about the tree but him. No one else sees its beauty – to everyone else, it is just a tree, but to the little boy it’s his entire universe.
So when Bertolt dies, the little boy finds a way of keeping it alive.
Profound and endearing… One of my favourite picture books of 2017.
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