cover image The Wish Tree

The Wish Tree

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Chris Turnham. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5065-9

A boy named Charles traverses the winter woods in search of a “wish tree,” accompanied by Boggan, his red toboggan. Along the way, they assist friendly animals in need: Charles uses Boggan to transport hazelnuts to Squirrel’s tree, birch logs to Beaver’s lodge, and berries to Fox’s burrow, among other mini-missions. These generous expenditures of time cut into Charles’s efforts to find the wish tree; as evening approaches, the animals repay his kindness by bringing him to a snow-covered pine tree in the woods. There, Charles hangs a wish on a branch, and the animals celebrate with an outdoor feast, complete with a hazelnut soufflé and birch tea. Newcomer Turnham brings a soft retro-meets-modern aesthetic to the pages in digital drawings that feature creamy snowdrifts accented by sunset shades of pale peach, pink, and violet. Along with Maclear’s (The Good Little Book) gently repeating language and subtle anthropomorphism (“ ‘La-di-da-di-da-di-daaaa,’ sang Charles. ‘Whishhhhh,’ sang Boggan”), the result is a story that hums with understated everyday magic. Ages 2–4. [em]Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.) [/em]