“Trees can’t tell jokes. But we can certainly tell stories. And if all you hear is the whisper of leaves, don’t worry. Most trees are introverts at heart.”
I love books told from an unusual perspective. The point of view in Wishtree is what initially grabbed my attention. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since fall, when I included it in my post of upcoming children’s and middle grade reads. In Wishtree, we hear from Red, a very old red oak tree. Red has seen and heard a lot over her many hundreds of years. She is very wise, but she knows the rules – no speaking to humans, ever. So, when Red sees a new family move into the neighborhood and quickly realizes that things aren’t quite right, she sets about trying to find a way to fix it.
Red is part of a beautiful old tradition in which the people of the neighborhood tie a piece of cloth to her branches with a wish one day a year. Wish Day has become a big deal in town. But when Red sets out to grant one wish in particular – a very lonely wish made by a very lonely girl who is treated differently because she wears a headscarf – things take an unexpected turn.
This was a quick, yet powerful read. I appreciated the different perspectives, from Red and the animal friends who live in and around her, to the many characters on her street and in her neighborhood. This was also a quiet read, with a lot of introspection from Red and contemplation between her and her animal friends. It is not action-packed, but it does pack an emotional punch for the reader. I would recommend this book to middle grade classrooms as I think it could open an important dialogue about differences and how we treat one another.
Wishtree is available now!