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The Tree Told Me

Reycraft. May 2021. 24p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781478873747.
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Gr 1-2–“The tree told me” is a refrain followed by philosophical points about how to be a better human. In Portal’s deliberately simple shapes and lines, a small seed develops into the full tree, demonstrating that life is an experience beginning with “almost nothing” and can day by day flourish. The tree says to share, as two squirrels gather around food. Strength is possible from small acts; the future provides opportunity to build good character if the foundation is solidly rooted in firm pillars of acceptable moral principles; the journey through life has many ups and downs but the growth is steady. “The tree told me to experience the storms / The tree told me that the night has its secrets / The tree told me that some things are unacceptable.” This is a secular moral code in its most straightforward form, and one children can grasp. It would be at home in the classroom, or as a conversation starter at story hours.
VERDICT A kindly phrase, “The tree told me,” builds a structure and how-to on creating a decent life. It’s that simple, and it’s that wonderful.

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