Wishtree – Katherine Applegate – Charles Santoso (Illustrator) – Feiwel & Friends – Published 26 September 2017
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.
You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.
“Trees can’t tell jokes. But they can certainly tell stories.”
I was in love it this book before I even read it. I loved the concept: a story about a tree with a story to tell, a story of friendship and acceptance, a story about community, dreams and, of course, wishes. And reading Wishtree only made me fall more in love.
Once again, Katherine Applegate delivers a beautiful book with heart, hope, and such a wonderful message. Wishtree is written from the perspective of Red, an old oak tree who, over the years, has become a wish tree. Every year, on Wishing Day, people come and hang or tie their wishes on Red. Usually, there isn’t much Red can do to make these wishes come true. But, when a young girl, new to the neighbourhood, wishes for a friend, Red, his best-friend Bongo and the rest of Red’s residents set out to make this wish come true.
The chapters in Wishtree are short, with delightful black and white illustrations gracing the chapter titles or chapter end pages. Wishtree is a sweet book, perfect for reading aloud. It doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of prejudice, yet it shares its message of acceptance in a graceful, gentle tone.
Category: Children’s fiction – Middle-grade fiction.
Themes: Trees, animals, friendship, community, acceptance, wishes.
Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.
Published: 26 September 2017 by Feiwel & Friends.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 224 pages.