'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 11 May 2017

Review: The Tree

What a simple but powerful story. This book contains little more than 50 words yet it brings home an environmental message that moved my seven-year-old to tears.

This is a book where the words and pictures dance a beautiful duet to tell the story of a tree. Just a tree. A tree that has a nest. And a hollow and a burrow. A tree that is home to a multitude of creatures enjoying their quiet lives. Until the newcomers arrive. With their plans.

They buy the land. They plan their dream home. They get out their tools and they work hard.

Then; the realisation. The heartbreak. What have they done?

Layton has created a story that will make kids stop, think and consider that the world is not just about them. What if building your family's home, destroys the homes of all the animals? What can you do? Can humans and animals both be happy together?

I really am amazed that such a seemingly simple story can bring such powerful emotions. The images of the tree and its inhabitants, along with those of the well-meaning people building their home are striking and poignant. They evoke empathy for both the animals and the people.

What will it take to create a happy home for all?

This is a beautiful, heart-felt book to introduce children to the concept of preservation and respect for the environment in which we live. It’s also just a lovely little story that the kids will enjoy, and leave a lingering mark for them to consider our place in this wonderful world.

Title: The Tree 
Author/Illustrator: Neal Layton
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 4 May 2017 
Format: Soft Cover 
ISBN: 9781406373202
For ages: 3 - 8 
Type: Picture Book