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THE HAPPINESS TREE by Andrea Alban Gosline


Celebrating the Gifts of Trees We Treasure

by Andrea Alban Gosline, illustrated by Lisa Burnett Bossi

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-37017-6
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

A muddled celebration of trees falls victim to soggy sentiment. In two sets of rhyming couplets each, ten different trees are individually introduced to readers with a quality they are said to embody—an identification that seems entirely arbitrary. The language and sentiments of the verse will likely be beyond the understanding of Gosline’s target audience (or, for that matter, most anyone). The paper birch: “I am the tree of honesty. / I surrender strong and true, / build a bridge from me to you, / revealing great integrity / in honor of a trusted tree. / I open.” Backmatter includes the types of trees depicted and presents some facts about each. Also included is a list of the 50 states and their official trees. Bossi’s gorgeous jewel-toned illustrations featuring anthropomorphized trees are sure to be pored over by young readers, who will be taken in by their fairy-forest quality. While there is no doubt that humanity can learn much from trees and their interactions with their environments, this gooey treatment does not come close to effectively conveying those lessons. (Picture book. 5-8)