Book Review: Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Wishtree“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.”

– Wishtree

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!


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