The Friendship Tree

Kathy Caple, Author, Kathy Caple, Illustrator Holiday House $15.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1376-8
Whisper-soft words and pictures say a lot about kindness in this unassuming beginning reader. Blanche, a white-wooled sheep, lives near Otis, a brown sheep. In the first chapter, ""Leaves,"" Blanche, who has only a pine tree, admires the orange leaves that fall from Otis's tree; Otis finds a way to make autumn leaves fall on Blanche's yard. That gesture becomes more poignant in light of ""The Storm,"" in which high winds topple Otis's tree. The loss briefly establishes a melancholy mood, but in ""Christmas,"" Blanche thoughtfully presents Otis with a young pine. The closing chapter, ""Spring,"" shows how the neighbors plant the new pine outdoors. Otis worries about the little tree until he sees a nest being built: ""It will not be cold. It will not be lonely. It has birds."" Caple (Starring Hilary; The Biggest Nose) tells the story in patient, methodical sentences and modest, pale watercolors. Blanche and Otis are both bipedal, wear parkas and snow boots, and hold ""hooves"" in critical moments. Children will appreciate how the friends' stated concern for trees mirrors their unspoken affection for each other. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Genre: Children's
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