The Forever Tree

Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas, illus. by Nicola Slater. Crown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-52392-8
Inspired by a real tree at a Wisconsin summer camp, ad execs turned picture book authors Surratt and Lukas share a story of a tree beloved by animals and people, who come together to save it from being cut down. For years, the tree is sustained by the attention of raccoons, squirrels, and other animals: “They fed the Tree with laughter, singing, and dancing. And... that’s how the Tree grew strong and tall and proud.” A grandfather notices the tree and hangs a swing on it for his granddaughter; soon more children and families come to “pump their legs and voices up to the sky.” Years pass, then “after a Long Hard Winter,” the tree does not reawaken and “Grandfather did not return.” The tree is declared unsafe, prompting the animals to rally human architects and artists, who transform it into a multilevel tree house. Slater’s retro art creates a Golden Books vibe, but the text’s attempts to strive for meaning, through quasi-allegorical language and lots of capitalization, keep the meandering story’s emotions at arm’s length. Ages 3–7. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/16/2018
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-553-52393-5
Paperback - 978-0-553-52395-9
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