The Different Tree

Reycraft. Sept. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781478882190.
Gr 2-4–As winter approaches, an oak tree’s leaves turn brown but do not fall to the ground. This sets it apart from other trees, and the forest animals gossip about why this tree is different. The story serves as a metaphor for the common picture book refrain that it’s okay to be different and to go at one’s own pace. The compositions combined with the color palettes of autumn and winter keep the illustrations lively and engaging. The animals who make their homes in and around the tree are especially dynamic. The text is serviceable. In the back matter, Boxer notes her inspiration: her own backyard oak tree. She also explains the natural benefits some trees receive for not shedding their leaves and lets readers know that the story is a metaphor for being neurodivergent.
VERDICT A worthy addition to a collection frequented by nature lovers, and a book that takes an unusual and welcome approach to the seasons.

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